Artists in the Collection

Zora Petrović
(Dobrica, Banat, 17 May 1894 – Belgrade, 25 May 1962)

Zora Petrović was educated in Belgrade and Budapest (her mentor was Deák Ébner Lajos). In 1918, she spent two months in Nagybánya with Réti István, and from July 1925 to August 1926 she was in Paris, where she attended André Lhote’s School of Painting for three months. In the period between 1920 and 1950, she worked as a teacher in Belgrade schools, and from 1952 until her death in 1962 she worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts
in Belgrade. She was a member of the artist’s societies “Lada“ (1924–1927), “Form“ (1928–1931), “The Twelve“ (1938) and “Independent Artists“ (1951–1956). She became a corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1961. After her first school paintings in darker tones and paintings in the spirit of André Lhote’s teachings, produced between 1925 and 1927, the work of Zora Petrović moved within the boundaries of the poetic realism and expressionism. The most significant group of works in her opus dedicated to the human figure, above all to the image
of a woman, is represented by expressionist nudes painted as early as in 1933, which fill out the entire surface of the canvas. As if she had been aspiring towards the aesthetics of ugliness in these paintings, they are a suggestive expression of the human drama. This links Zora Petrović’s painting to those currents of expressionism where art is interpreted as an expression of “inner necessity”. Through their large format, intense colours and gestures, they accentuate their state of anxiety and the existential unease which are not only characteristic of a group of artists, but which regularly appear in the course of the history of art as an expression of the tense relationship one has with oneself and the world he or she lives in. That is why the candor of the creative act and the truthfulness of the painting, in the sense that the character of the representation and the object represented are the same, were the necessary
prerequisites for painting and a guarantee of a number of values which were at the same timevisual, as well as moral and humane.