Artists in the Collection

Sreten Stojanović
(Prijedor, 15 February 1898 – Belgrade, 29 October 1960)

Stojanović’s rich and varied opus was constantly permeated by artistic and social engagements. As a prisoner of the Austro-Hungarian authorities because he was a member of the “Young Bosnia” group (1914–1917), he started with wood-carving. This was followed by his education with Zelezny and Lewandowski at the Vienna Arts and Crafts School (1918) and his departure for Paris (1919), joining the Montparnasse bohemian circles and education with Bourdelle who had the most profound influence on Stojanović. After three years of studying Stojanović created a series of mature
works of art, and with his arrival in Belgrade (1922) he brought the first experimental breakthroughs in Serbian sculpture: archaism, colour, the stylization and geometrization. He wrote art reviews regularly (1926–1931), presenting ideas about the necessity of art having an involved relationship with life, inspired by his impressions from Russia (1927), which was particularly present after World War II, when he became a fervent supporter of socialist realism and did several monuments in that spirit. In parallel with his artistic work which assumed a realist orientation in 1929, he also did some teaching at the Teacher Training College and later at the newlyfounded Academy of Fine Arts. His lectures at the Kolarac University and his articles published in the Umetnički pregled contributed to his authority in the
public eye and artistic circles. One of the founders of the group “Form” and the Association of Artists, Stojanović created the most important realist portraits in modern Serbian sculpture in the inter-war period. At the time he made figurines,
shaped by the experience of an extraordinary draftsman and watercolour painter, as well as monumental reliefs which express the lyricism of classical serenity. Even before World War II he maintained ties with communists and after the liberation, he took active part in the political and social life, as president of the Belgrade National Front, a member of parliament, secretary of SULUJ (Association of Yugoslav Artists), president of ULUS (Association of Serbian Artists), rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, editor of the journal Umetnost; he initiated the publication “Slikari i vajari”. After 1945 he dedicated himself to sculpture only and resolved to work in two stylistic orientations: heroic romantism (1945–1952)
and epic monumentality (1951–1960). A realist witha romanticist’s vision of reality, Stojanović introduced an intimate dimension into Serbian sculpture, created a modern psychological portrait, and in monumental plastic art he cherished epic tradition. He was the first to write seriously and studiously about sculpture in the region.