Artworks in the Collection

Milan KONJOVIĆ
Ćira Falcione (1944)


The name of Milan Konjović is most frequently associated with motifs of wheat, sunflowers, farmsteads, village streets, but little is known of his figural works, paintings with faces, of which there are almost a thousand. There is a reason for saying “faces” since the artist avoided using the word “portrait”, because a “portrait” to him was a commissioned painting which implied making concessions to the customer. And Konjović was not willing to make compromises here either, so he preferred ordinary people “from the fringes of life” as models, “originals” he would meet in Sombor, Cavtat,
Dubrovnik, Senta or Bačka Topola. With these physiognomies, he could fully “indulge himself as a painter”, deform them to the point of a caricature and accentuate their important psychological characteristics. He mainly used to paint them right in front of the model, or from a previously made sketch. “I wanted to paint Ćira Falcione for a long time, but he would never consent to it. He was superstitious and he said he would die if I painted him. One day when I met him, he was in a good mood and he agreed to let me paint him. I asked him to come in the afternoon to 17 Crkvena Street,
where I had a studio at the time, at my aunt Malka’s [Vukićević], across the street from Veljko Petrović’s house. I felt excited as I painted him,” recounted Konjović in his gallery in September 1987 the story about how the painting came into existence, and of Ćira Falcione himself. Konjović said that Ćira had got five acres of land from his father and his brothers received 100 acres each, because they considered him crazy, and Ćira later possessed a house in Budapest, a house at Lake Balaton as well as other property. “Just as I was considered to be the prodigal son,” Konjović used to add to his story about this eccentric from Sombor, whose painting undoubtedly belongs to the masterpieces within his entire opus. Konjović’s infallible feeling for colours can be seen here as well, a feeling noted by art critics even in Paris and in Prague before that, when J. Pečirka stressed in Prager Presse that the exceptionality of Konjović’s talent lay in the fact that “he forces irreconcilable colours into a complete harmony and organizes them well.” The painting was
bought by Pavle Beljanski from Milan Konjović on 2 October 1945.

Milan Konjović