Artists in the Collection

Nedeljko Gvozdenović
(Mostar, 9 March 1902 – Belgrade, 31 January 1988)


From a “small provincial boy,” as he used to call himself, he grew into a synonym for an intellectual painter through his force of will, curiosity, great gift, personal education, perseverance, and his calmness. His well-measured air and distinguished appearance earned him the epithet The Marquis, as they often called him. Gvozdenović had his first encounter with urban environment (galleries, museums, distinguished personalities) in Munich, where his knowledge of German, along with French and Italian, helped him a lot. He started his artistic studies with drawing (in the private
International School of Hans Hofmann, 1922–1924 where he only drew), and during his life, he was no stranger to any material: oil, watercolours, pastel, tempera, gouache… No material was ignored by him in the artistic process and he was interested in “how can paint or graphite, or ink, diluted or pure, produce the desired quality under the pressure of
the instrument I am holding in my hand?” And the desired quality was balance, chromatic sonorousness and a rhythmic clarity of the painting’s layout. Painting was the vocation to which Gvozdenović was dedicated with all his being, hence his seclusion and solitude. His favourite environment was his studio: the easels and the tight canvases, the various materials on or with which he worked, books and music, his thoughts and reflections. His favourite themes were: cityscapes and landscapes, still-lifes, figures in the interior, interiors with diverse and ordinary objects, birds, social scenes in a certain period, room dividers. He would always start out with the real entity, the subject. It served
him as an encouragement for the play of volume in the painting, rhythms, motion, and colours – primarily brightness values. Gvozdenović was a sensitive colourist but not one of “forceful colours, clashes and dramatic weaving of coloured zones.” In his paintings, according to Mića Popović, the coloured areas do not clash but are matched and
have a tendency towards monochromatic harmonies. Thus Gvozdenović’s paintings are remembered
as blue, green, red, yellow, brown… There was a long and sincere friendship between him and Pavle Beljanski.