Artworks in the Collection

Milan KONJOVIĆ
My Studio II (1930)


This canvas, rather large compared to Konjović’s usual format, was hailed by art critics as the undisputed masterpiece of the artist’s “blue period” (1930–1933). Along with 26 other paintings from that time, it was exhibited at his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1931, in the renowned Galerie Bing in Rue La Boëtie. “In Paris I spent time in the company of Hungarian painters and collectors, mainly Jews. Through them I arrived at one of the best galleries as early as 1931,
and this was Galerie Bing in Rue La Boëtie. At that time Dobrović, Perić, Šumanović, Lubarda and Aralica were in Paris.” Along with other appreciative reviews of this piece, the text by eminent Maurice Raynal was particularly prominent: “This small dramatic conflict takes place in the core of the painterly action which was conducted very confidently. Large sections of colour, often very powerful and well applied, even too well, reveal an artist whose knowledge and sensitivity strive for balance, and this, it seems, is not always easy to achieve.” After his first success in Paris, Konjović exhibited his works, 50 paintings altogether, in Belgrade for the first time in the Art Pavilion in 1932. Maurice Betts, a Frenchman, wrote in the preface to the exhibition catalog: “Mr. Milan Konjović, whose powerful and characteristic talent was made known to Paris at his solo exhibition in the Galerie Bing, has increased the experience
without sinking in the quicksand of Montparnasse, unnatural and permeated by false modernism. He came to Yugoslavia, not only to look for themes for his canvases, but to bring to them a force which remained intact and enriched by many previous quests.” The painting My Studio II, which was bought from the painter by Pavle Beljanski on 2 October 1945, was framed in a carved wooden frame from Vienna, which previously held Konjović’s Venus, painted in Vienna in 1921, and which, according to the artist’s words, was soon ruined due to poor material and inferior technology.

Milan Konjović