Artworks in the Collection

Head of an Ol d Man (1911)

An interest in themes from the Serbian milieu – landscapes and portraits – which was clearly visible in Serbian painting at the beginning of modernism, is present in the works of Vidosava Kovačević as well. Although she grew up in an urban environment, Vidosava produced several compositions, probably inspired by representations from the Serbian periods of Nadežda Petrović. In 1911, she painted two portraits of the same model, quite atypical of the urban milieu. These works testify to the autor’s interest in different physiognomies and social motifs. The portrait entitled Head of an Old Man from The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection was painted in 1911. The Portrait of an Old Man, the property of the National Museum in Valjevo, was painted in the same year. It shows an older man with a moustache and beard, from the waist up, leaning with both hands on a stick in front of himself. The Head of an Old Man only shows the
head of the model. The background is green, the clothes brownish and the head shown full face is illuminated by a powerful beam of light. The brushstrokes are visible not only on the background and clothes, but also on every part of the face, the hair, the beard and the moustache. This represented a significant step forward in Vidosava’s way of painting – the face was still in the focus of her attention, but in an entirely new way: she was no longer painting over the drawing, accentuating light, but modelling the face with her brushstrokes instead. This was the first step towards an independent artistic expression, which would lead to her most significant paintings. Such works are, in truth, not many, but they clearly illustrate the power of her talent and her desire to achieve something new.

Vidosava Kovačević