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Sava Šumanović

A Great Who Connects Us

On the occasion of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the establishing of the Cultural Centre of Serbia in Paris, an exhibition entitled Sava Šumanović and European Realism Between the Two World Wars was held from 26th May to 23rd June, organised in cooperation with the Novi Sad-based Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection and the Gallery of Matica Srpska

The exhibition was conceived with the idea of presenting the latest results of research into Šumanović’s connection with French culture and Paris’s international art scene at the Cultural Centre of Serbia. The exhibition is authored by Milana Kvas, manager of the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection.

The exhibited works included nine paintings and four drawings from the Gallery of Matica Srpska and eight drawings from the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, as well as video animations of the paintings Luncheon on the Grass (Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection) and The Drunken Boat (Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade ), while the exhibition was complemented with the addition of a special video segment with important examples of Šumanović’s painting and works by his role models and contemporaries sourced from both public and private collections.

Completing the exhibition was the original authorial music of composer Andrija Pavlović. The exhibition’s video content was authored by Aleksandar Ilić, while its design and accompanying catalogue were entrusted to Veljko Damjanović.

With a focus on original works from the Gallery of Matica Srpska that were originally exhibited at the Autumn Salon and the Salon of the Independents in Paris, relations with orientations towards European realism on Paris’s art scene, as well as on Šumanović’s circle of friends and acquaintances, the standouts among whom included the likes of Rastko Petrović, André Lhote, Florent Fels and Kiki de Montparnasse, the exhibition at the Cultural Centre of Serbia presented Sava Šumanović in a new light as one of the most important Yugoslav artists on the cultural scene of the French capital.

Lectures by art historian Gordana Krstić Faj and screenings of films about Sava Šumanović were organized throughout the duration of the exhibition. A promotion of the publication Sava Šumanović and European Realism Between the Two World Wars, published in 2022 by the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, was held on 23rd June to mark the culmination of the exhibition’s run. Providing an important contribution to the evaluating and interpreting of Šumanović’s work for future generations, this representative collection of works includes trilingual (in Serbian, English and French) published studies by prominent scientific and museum experts and art historians: Zvonko Maković, Lidija Merenik, Igor Borozan, Ana Ereš, Sofija Milenković, Gordana Krstić Faj, Tijana Palkovljević Bugarski, Milana Kvas and Tamara Ognjević. The fact that the contents of the publication are available in both French and English enables experts and the general public in France and elsewhere to better familiarise themselves with the important aspects of Šumanović’s creative oeuvre, which serve to show that his art, but also the Yugoslav cultural scene of the interwar period, participated equally in shaping Europe’s art scene.

The exhibition and promotion of the publication Sava Šumanović and European Realism Between the Two World Wars was realised under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the AP Vojvodina Provincial Secretariat for Culture, Public Information and Relations with Religious Communities and the Novi Sad branch of the French Institute in Serbia.

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