Artists in the Collection

Ljubomir Ljuba Ivanović
(Belgrade, 12 March 1882 – Belgrade, 22 November 1945)

As the first Serbian painter to neglect and later totally abandon working with colours and devote himself completely to drawing in pencil and cutting black and white engravings, Ljubomir Ivanović was the founder of the contemporary school of Serbian artistic drawing and modern graphic art. Thanks to him, drawing in Serbian art developed from a subsidiary into an independent discipline. He started his education in art during the last year that Cyril Kutlik’s school was open (1899), and afterwards he continued his education with Rista and Beta Vukanović, then later in Munich (1905–1909). He published his drawings in Nova Iskra and Politika as early as in 1903. On his return to Belgrade he got the post of teacher of “life drawing evening class and head drawing” at the Arts and Crafts School, and in 1937, when the Academy of Fine Arts was founded, he continued his work in education as a full professor at the Department of Graphic Art. His opus began with oil paintings, of which there are unfortunately very few left today since most of
them were destroyed in World War I. At first he did both oil-paintings and drawings at the same time. He enjoyed painting human figures, especially in the interior, which he later neglected almost completely in favour of drawing landscapes and human artifacts: ruins of old buildings, dilapidated houses with oriels, lone watermills, palaces of former patricians. “He painted oil paintings with a graphic feel, and when drawing he was attracted to painter’s
associations,” Veljko Petrović once remarked. The great value and virtuosity of his art does not belong to any particular style due to its exceptional individuality, although it is closest to the traditions of impressionism, to which it is linked by the shimmering play of the shadows on the treetops and the foliage and the transient moods of his rare figure
compositions with themes from everyday life. To him it was a way to achieve painter’s values with graphite and to conjure up the impression of polychromy with a scale of black and white tones. He exhibited his drawings of Yugoslavia landscapes, Southern Serbia, Šumadija, or Paris at many exhibitions, and these were published between the two
world wars in several thematic portfolios.