Artists in the Collection

Milan Konjović
(Sombor, 28 January 1898 – Sombor, 20 October 1993)


After two semesters at the Prague Academy (1919) in the class of V. Bukovac, Konjović started working in the studio of the avant-garde painter Jan Zrzavý who encouraged him to study Leonardo. He stayed briefly in Sombor in 1921 and then left for Vienna, where he was most attracted to the works of Kokoschka, Schiele, Picasso and Renaissance
painting. He travelled to Munich, Berlin and Dresden in 1922 and in the autumn, influenced by Picasso, he painted cubist paintings in Sombor. He was in Prague again in 1923 and in May 1924, then he left for Paris where he attended nude drawing classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and later he moved, only for two weeks, to the studio
of André Lhote. At the end of the third decade, the paintings of the “transition period” were created. He had his first solo exhibition in 1931 and he had been participating in the Salons from 1926. He was present at the great joint exhibitions in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Belgrade, Zagreb and Dubrovnik. He was a member of the “Form” and “The Twelve”
groups. From 1925 he spent his summer holidays in Cassis-sur-Mer, where in 1929, he painted the first paintings from his “blue period,” which he further developed in Paris (1930–1933). During his short stay in Sombor in 1931, he embarked upon his great themes of the future: the streets of Sombor, ripe wheat, sunflowers, harvested corn, and local people. From 1932 until the begining of World War II, he painted in Dalmatia during the summer, which was his “red period”. In 1941, he was a prisoner of war in Osnabrück, Germany. Oil paintings with subdued colours made up Konjović’s “gray period” (1945– 1952), which was followed by a dramatic turnabout: his attitude towards the object became freer, pure colour dominated and paintings from the “colouristic period” (1953–1959) came into existence. At the same time he participated in the founding and work of art colonies in Vojvodina (in Senta, Bačka Topola, Bečej, Ečka). His new artistic orientation reached its culmination and was carried on in works from his “associative period” (1960–1984), and in 1985, after his great solo exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, Konjović began his first variations on the topic of Byzantine art. His “Byzantine period” lasted until the end of 1990, as the finale of a rich opus of about 6,000 works (oils, pastels, watercolours, temperas, drawings, tapestries, stage settings, costume sketches, stained glass, mosaics, ceramics, graphic art). This unique and varied life’s work brought a distinguished reputation to its creator through over 300 solo and about 700 group exhibitions in the country and abroad. His works are displayed in
museums, galleries and private collections worldwide. Thanks to the artworks bequeathed to the town of Sombor, the “Milan Konjović” Gallery, a legacy of the artist, was opened on 10 September, 1966. Thanks to the gifts from the painter and his daughter, Vera Konjović Amidžić, as well as other donors, the legacy comprises 1,078 works of art,
created between 1913 and 1990.