Artists in the Collection

Ivan Radović
(Vršac, 21 June 1894 – Belgrade, 14 August 1973)

Radović’s art, always evocative of the works of Henry Le Douanier Rousseau, Gauguin and Chagall, went through several stages which often overlapped as parallel research does, from contemplative rationalism to the emotional, instinctive and irrational. The constructivist period of his art (1917–1922) can be linked to his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest (1917–1919) and his work in Nagybánya, as well as periods spent in Paris, Vienna and Munich (1921). This was reflected in his great interest in the analysis and synthesis of form, but without negating
colour, in the merging of tradition with the new. His monumental compositions (in neoclassicism style 1922–1926; abstract 1923–1924) were created under the influence of Venetian renaissance with an echo of German expressionism. He developed a personal interpretation of art in his spontaneous love of his native country, revealing an authentic joy of living and a specific approach to nature: naivism as an attitude and subject of painting (1927–1931).
Being a famous tennis player at the time, he moved from Sombor to Belgrade (1928), where he painted bourgeois portraits and scene art, devoted at the same time to his other love – tennis. The following year he triumphed as the Yugoslav tennis champion. The influences of Bonnard, his orientation towards the inner world, interiors, were signs of a new stylistic, intimist orientation (1930–1940). This was particularly noticeable after his second stay in
Paris (1937), as well as during the sixth and seventh decade. Radović’s naivism, pervaded by other poetic values from the thirties, is characterized by violet and greenish-yellow colours, with a gradual lightening of the gamut, with the introduction of new and recreation of old themes in a different way: portraits, interiors, nudes, still-lifes and landscapes.
After World War II, his work is characterized by the expressionist pathos of the “Vojvodinian romanticism”. Villages in Bačka became the focus of his painting, represented naively and irrationally, as a poetic, dream-like and fairy-tale vision of his native country. Writing at the same time about art, Radović saw himself as a revolted opponent and
critic of the abstraction of the 1960s, regarding it as commercial, producer-oriented and careerist, which was contrary to his theory of “art as a truth of life”. Given all the different influences on his work, the value of Radović’s painting must be sought in the authentic directness of his experiences and beliefs. This is supported by the fact that he painted naïve
art before the Hlebina School.