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The Collection of Painting after 1945
The collection consists of 2.045 works of Serbian and Yugoslav art. The integral part of the Collection is a special collection of watercolors, pastels and gouaches, which numbers 321 works from that period. The Collection follows the complex genesis of Serbian and Yugoslav painting from the period of the short dominance of socialist realism dogma (1945-1950) and the first indications of the emergence of late modernism to current tendencies in painting. Chronologically, the Collection maintains a continuity with the Collection of paintings from 1900-1945, which is visible in the works of Jovan Bijelić, Zora Petrović, Marko Čelebonović and Ivan Tabaković.
The highest achievements of the expressive figuration of the 1950s and 1960s are present in the evocation of national epic poetry in the works of Petar Lubarda (Fantastic Landscape, 1951; Gusle Player, 1952), in the existential painting of Gabrijel Stupica (Big Bride, 1965) and Mario Pregelj (Fantastic Dining Table, 1966), in the socio-critical engagement of Krsto Hegedušić (Dead Waters, 1956) etc. The works of Milan Popović, Dado Đurić and Vladimir Veličković are prominent in the realm of Magical Realism, whereas the Neo-Dadaist objects, assemblages and “integral painting” of Leonid Šejka represent a phenomenon of its own kind.
The genesis of abstract painting after 1945 reflects a very complex situation which points to the oscillations concerning various formal and conceptual models of painting. A distinct and widespread tendency was represented by the “abstract landscape painting” or associative painting which has a starting point in the experience of the landscape, or the reflection on the landscape, which falls in the spans from Expressionist to Post-Informel painting. The most prominent amongst these artists are: Miodrag Protić (Imaginary Landscape, 1962), Stojan Ćelić (Delicate Remnants of the Soil, 1966), Oton Gliha (Gromače 22-65, 1965), Janez Bernik and others. The collection features the protagonists of Abstract Expressionism such as Filo Filipović (Dyptich a, b, 1972), Edo Murtić (White Base, 1964) and Petar Omčikus, as well as the exponents of Informel from Zagreb and Belgrade Ivo Gatin (Purple Surface, 1950-1960), Eugen Feler (Malampia, 1963), Mića Popović (Base, 1963), Vera Božičković-Popović, Branko Protić, Vladislav Todorović, Đuro Seder and others. The emergence of geometric abstraction is most frequently associated with the EXAT 51 group from Zagreb, which creates in the spirit of Constructivism, where the picture is overcome as a two-dimensional facet and becomes open to objects and ambients produced from contemporary industrial materials (Ivan Picelj, Candidus, 1966). The predomination of the conceptual over visual aspects, something very close to minimalism, can be seen in the works of Julije Knifer (Composition I, 1960-1962) and Josip Vaništa (White Painting with Silver Line, 1964).
As a reaction to the predominance of abstract tendencies, the then current trends of Pop-Art, New Figuration and Narrative Figuration emerged in the mid 1960s in Belgrade. These trends are represented in the collection in the works of these artists: Dušan Otašević (Comrade Tito, White Violet, Our Youth Loves You, 1969), Predrag Nešković (Elements of War, 1966), Radomir Reljić (Europa Terra Incognita, 1968), Bojan Bem, Dragoš Kalajić and others. This painting would serve as a basis for the emergence of subsequent tendencies such as Photorealism, Hyperrealism, New Classicism and alike phenomena which dominates during the 1970s (H. Gvardijančič, A. Cvetković, B. Damjanovski and others).
The so called “New Painting”, which emerged at the beginning of the 1980s, is seen in the paintings of Tugomir Šušnik (Painting 2, 1982), Tahir Lušić (Grid Shadow Fiftees..,.1986), Andraž Šalamun, Željko Kipke, pictures-objects of Mileta Prodanović and Jože Slak, cold “non-expressionist” paintings of Marija Dragojlović and the like. The painting of the last decade of the 20th century is represented in the works of Uroš Đurić, Biljana Đurđević and others.