Artists in the Collection

Milo Milunović
(Cetinje, 18 August 1897 – Belgrade, 11 February 1967)

As a versatile person, Milunović came in contact with all sorts of different visual media on his artistic path. He prefered to paint, mainly in casein temperas, although he also used oils. He also drew, did graphic art, frescos, mosaics and posters, illustrations, postage stamp design, stage design and theater costumes, wrote reviews and treatises on
art. He was the founder of the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade at which he was also a professor; he was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, of the groups “The Twelve” and “Independent Artists”. He accumulated the influence of his teachers, artists and art from the past, where he learnt the lessons he would later use in his work, going through different stages: impressionism, neoclassicism (from magic realism to cubist geometrism), he came under the influence of Cézanne, the Pompeian and medieval painting. He thus created his personal style, long-known as Mediterranean, in the post-war period which began in the 1950s. The painter had observed French masters (Cézanne, Picasso, Derain) before, and through them arrived at the old masters (Ingres and Poussin), and delved
deeper into the past (the Renaissance), explored and combined, subordinated the intuitive to the rational, then in the final period he surrendered completely to nature and allowed it to dominate him. The accumulated experience of his feverish and dedicated work and encountering new stimuli made it possible for him to change what was old
but also to recognize the old in the new. Of great importance to Milunović was the encounter with Antoine Bourdelle in Paris, in whose museum there are still three Milunović’s paintings. Bourdelle wrote to Milunović: “Mr. Milunović, I experienced a great and rare excitement, my dear sir, when I discovered you in the Salon in the Palais de Bois, called
the Salon des Tuilleries in this year of 1927. Your consignment was a revelation to me. I find your art powerful, conscientious, well-ordered and spontaneous at the same time. I have told all my friends that I adore your canvases and I am certain that an elite audience will gather around your name. In many ways you even surpass the good masters. Great Artist: that is your name.” From that time on, a photograph of Bourdelle hung in Milunović’s studio as a token of friendly support.