Artworks in the Collection

Head of a Girl (1912)

The Head of a Girl from 1912 is undoubtedly the most famous work from the opus of Vidosava Kovačević. The painting shows a smiling young face, turned three-quarters to the left. The little girl is wearing a striped blouse, a red scarf around her neck and a brown cap on her head. The technique ties in with Vidosava’s earlier works, but at the same time it goes one step further. The portrait was painted with a thick brush, using forceful brushstrokes, which were shorter and more precise on the face, longer and freer ones on the clothes. The colouristic quality is new as well – powerful red and blue tones break up the dominant ochre background infusing the painting with cheerfulness. The smile on the girl’s face, successfully executed in anatomical sense, is new not only in Vidosava’s, but in Serbian
painting in general, considering that at the time, open emotions and smiles were still very rare. That atmosphere sets this painting apart from all her previous works and places this one among the best creations of the author. According to the manner in which it was executed and the relationship with the subject, it is very close to the works of her women contemporaries, especially to the portrait Head of a Gypsy Woman by Danica Jovanović. The fact that this portrait dates back to 1912 is supported by the assessment that “the merriment and refinement indicate a new source.” One can assume that this source was Paris. The Head of a Girl undoubtedly stands at the very top of Vidosava’s artistic work, proves her artistic maturation and represents the highest achievement in the expressionistic poetics within her opus. In it, the author further deepened her already formed approach to portraits, shown in The Study for a Portrait and the Man from Banat. It may be concluded that this would have been the direction in which her painting would have developed if it had not been suddenly and tragically interrupted.

Vidosava Kovačević