Artworks in the Collection

Petar LUBARDA
Still -life (1939)


The year 1939, when Still-life was created, was marked by a new international triumph by Petar Lubarda – winning the first prize at the International Exhibition of Painting in the Hague. At the time, he was in Paris again (1938–1940), his palette was enriched by warm colours combined with light, and the painting retained the tonal unity, characteristic of Lubarda’s realistic painting from the decade preceding World War II. His “school days”, as the artist himself called that period of his work, were coming to an end. In an interview from 1953 he said: “For me it was important to remove all the elements which were thematically obstructive, so that form and colour would be at the forefront.” Although Stilllife is close to a realistic form, we can see signs of its disintegration. The shape and colours of different fabrics strewn about the table as parts of the composition give advantage to the visual quality of form over its objectivity. Such a choice of objects reveals to us, already in the pre-war period, Lubarda’s predilection for a “free”, almost fluid form, which is a precursor to the arabesque forms from the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties, when his subject loses its material substance completely. In addition, the specifically Lubardian expressionistic charge of the painting, the “dramatic realism” of Still-life regardless of the thematic closeness, clearly separates this piece from Serbian intimist painting. The subjective expression was becoming increasingly distinct through the gradual freeing of the form and the colour in the painting, in order to appear more directly after 1950 as an expression of the artist’s thoughts and feelings. Therefore, we can speak of a slow and logical process of uninterrupted development in Lubarda’s painting.

Petar Lubarda