Artists in the Collection

Borivoje Stevanović
(Niš, 14 October 1878 – Belgrade, 19 May 1976)


In the first phase of his artistic work, as a student at Cyril Kutlik’s Serbian School of Drawing and Painting in Belgrade (1895), and later during his studies at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1904, and in the period preceding the World War I, Stevanović belonged to the impressionist generation of Serbian painters. Having spent six years in the heart of the Secession, he was to learn about the achievements in depicting nature and sunlight which were indirectly brought to Munich by French impressionism. So, until 1920, Stevanović was one of the chief advocates of the Impressionist style in painting, modified by the artistic views of the Belgrade environment. Having
started with figure en plein-air – such as the Girl with a Book (1906) – he gradually arrived at a pure landscape in the series of the Old Bush by the Danube (1920) motifs. In that period, along with Kosta Miličević, Nadežda Petrović and Milan Milovanović, he became one of the protagonists of colouristic painting which would lay the foundations of the future “Belgrade School”. The period of constructivist tendencies in 1920s was reflected in Stevanović by his confinement to a specific darker palette and his return to a tight form. Basically, this was his “Cézannean” phase when he finally opted for a kind of art which was intimist in character and traditionalist in views. In the final decades of his work, this attitude was to manifest itself as a predilection for modest themes from the Belgrade suburbs and its slightly romantic atmosphere. For, even though he used other motifs as well, portrait and especially still-life, Borivoje Stevanović will be remembered as a nostalgic poet of the Belgrade suburbs of Bulbulder, Marinkova Bara and Čubura.
These were close friends to painters without studios, their models and adventures. They were rarely bleak, mostly serene and cheerful whether seen in the morning, at noon or dusk. Therefore, regardless of the fact that he formally belonged to the “Lada” Serbian Artists’ Society, and informally to the circle of intimist, that is poetic realist, painters, the
artistic work of Borivoje Stevanović represents a separate and compact whole.