Artworks in the Collection

Man from Banat (1912)

Alhtough Man from Banat is unsigned, the year of its painting is taken to be 1912, according to the testimony of Vidosava’s sister, Milica Rakić. Since we know that Vidosava Kovačević had already moved to Paris in January 1912, it is not logical that she should opt for a painting with an explicitly local theme on arriving in the world’s art capital. According to the way it was painted, the Man from Banat ties in completely with a somewhat earlier painting, Study of an Old Man, from 1911. The Man from Banat is a portrait of an older man, in profile, depicted from the chest up, wearing
a hat and dressed in greenish clothes. The main emphasis in the painting is placed on the brushstroke which shapes the entire image giving the impression of sculptural solidity. The face is devoid of all unnecessary details and the main features – the nose, mouth, ears and eyes – can barely be discerned. The brushstrokes are somewhere longer, somewhere shorter but always full and forceful. The short brushstrokes on the face form a prominent contrast with
the length of those on the clothes, which are so prominent that one could count the number of brushstrokes it took the artist to paint the model’s clothes. It is clear from the way the Man from Banat was painted that Vidosava Kovačević managed to break away from the influence of her teachers and her environment and let herself paint through gestures and strokes. The theme remained “local” but the execution was new and innovative. It is quite possible that this was Vidosava’s last portrait before she went to France. The Man from Banat was, therefore, a turning point in her opus. Later on, a new thematic repertoire and a different atmosphere entered the paintings, and her visual language was progressively moving towards the characteristics of expressionism.

Vidosava Kovačević