Artists in the Collection

Sava Šumanović
(Vinkovci, 22 Januar 1896 – Sremska Mitrovica, 30 August 1942)


Having devoted his entire life to painting, Sava Šumanović infallibly followed the spirit of the era thanks to his refined artistic sensibility. In the Zemun High School which he started attending in 1906, he was mostly interested in the art of
Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh at the time when the avant-garde painters in Europe were turning to Cézanne’s art. He remained faithful to his role-models during his education in Zagreb too (1914–1918), although his professors, Oton Iveković and Menci Klement Crnčić, belonged to the already obsolete Munich school. The result of Šumanović’s first stay at the studio of André Lhote in Paris (1920–1921) were the cubist canvases exhibited in Zagreb in 1921, at the first real exhibition of modern art in these parts. Overwhelmed by the constructivist ideas of Lhote’s School, which were
not accepted in Zagreb, in 1924 Šumanović published the texts entitled “A Painter on Painting” and “Why I like Poussin’s Painting” in which he explained his attitude as a painter. Two years later, during his second stay in Paris (1925–1928), he was one of the founders of “Form” the most progressive artists’ group in Yugoslavia in the period between the wars. In the years when a spontaneous, emotional expression inspired by nature came into the Parisian school of painting, Šumanović was also creating art in that spirit, and Florent Fels, a distinguished French art critic, considered him the most talented and intelligent of all the Yugoslav artists who were present in Paris at the time. In his constant efforts to break through the dense forest of what he had learnt and reach his personal artistic expression, Šumanović was going through a deep spiritual crisis; this would force him in 1930 to leave the city of art forever and to seek spiritual peace in Šid until his tragic death in Sremska Mitrovica in 1942. In spite of his total isolation, Šumanović revealed the essence of his artistic expression most directly in his Šid opus. Through these works he was included in the anthology of colouristic painting of the national art history, and he announced elements of post-modernist visual language with his “Šidijanke” cycle.