Artists in the Collection

Kosta Hakman
(Bosanska Krupa, 22 May 1899 – Opatija, 8 December 1961)


After a year of studying in Prague under Bukovac (1919–1920) and half a year spent in Vienna, Hakman discovered his painter’s affinities in Krakow (1920–1924) studying in the class of Stanislaw Weiss. Mastering the craft and discovering the essence of landscapes helped him to define, as early as then, his painter’s credo: “There are no lines, no formation, there are only contrasts […] not in black and white but in colouristic impression.” His paintings exhibited in Belgrade, after he had completed his education in December 1925, mark the initial stage of his work (1924–1925), revealing painter who was striving to add to the landscape some additional, symbolic meanings, conjured up
by the dance of shimmering light, short brushstrokes and a wide range of green, brown and blue tones. Going to Paris (1926–1929) was a life’s ambition come true for Hakman, which meant heading towards Bonnard’s intimistic understanding of space and towards Cézanne’s treatment of painting; at the same time he filled the canvases with
a pearly light, his brushstroke became longer and his palette became more homogenous in tones of light-pink and olive-gray, the characteristics of future painting, varying only in the dynamics of the brushstroke and the basic colouristic matrix. He exhibited views of Parisian streets and still-lifes on returning to Belgrade in 1929, where he was to spend the rest of his life dedicated to painting and teaching. Embracing modernist ideas about art, he became a member of both “Form” and “The Twelve”; he was one of the founders of the “Circle of Yugoslav Artists”; he was a regular participant in exhibitions, he was present at the Exhibition of Yugoslav Art in Rome, as well as at the World Exhibition in
Paris (1937) where he won a gold medal. Basing his work on the direct perception of what he could see, Hakman maintained a more-or-less realist attitude towards the world, colouring it with a deep sensitivity and directness. Mixing pure colour and tonal priciple, he adopted the syntax, rather than the essence of impressionist aesthetics. He included his artistic credo with equal force in landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, interiors and self-portraits, where he alternated between the intimistic and symbolistic views of the world.