Artists in the Collection

Marko Čelebonović
(Belgrade, 22 November 1902 – Saint Tropez, 27 July 1986)


The life of the Yugoslav-French painter, academician (Serbian Academy of Science and Art) and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, was closely connected with France, and especially Saint-Tropez, but he never abandoned his native Belgrade and the Yugoslav milieu. A lawyer by profession, he started his education in art by studying sculpture in the studio of Antoine Bourdelle, but he soon chose painting. Having reached artistic maturity
in the fourth decade of the twentieth century, a time when colour regained primacy in our painting, Čelebonović remained a colourist for as long as he could hold a brush. Although he worked in periods which were named after the basic, dominant tone on his paintings (brown, green, white... ), his painting always had colouristic impacts and accents
which revealed a steady, master’s hand and a sense for refined chromatic relationships. However, even when his colours and artistic technique changed, there was no significant change in his basic thematic layer. Čelebonović chose his motifs at the very beginning of his artistic opus: still-lifes, portraits and interiors, alterning and in the course
of his work perfecting, only their visual interpretation, chromatic scale and social connotation. The volume and material structure of the observed object gradually disappeared, sometimes almost literally translated into a picture, and Čelebonović, as he said about himself, “invented forms, colour relationships, resembling a dream or a vision which has nothing to do with nature, but nature only serves as an inspiration for a symbolic sign. I should say that a painter during his life first lives on the ground floor, near the ground, and later he moves to the first or second floors, which separate him from the material reality and introduces him to an unencumbered, spiritual world.”