From its foundation in 1950 the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade collects, studies and exhibits the works of contemporary applied art. Important exhibitions like: "Contemporary Yugoslav Ceramics" (1954), "Artistic Metalwork by the Nations and Nationalities of Yugoslavia through Centuries" (1956), "Art in Industry" (1962), "Contemporary Yugoslav Tapestry" (1963) defined the Museum of Applied Art as the referential and evaluating institution for the appraisal of contemporary achievements in applied arts and design on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia.

The foundation of the Department for contemporary applied arts in 1967 that, unlike other departments, follows all branches of applied arts from 1918 up to the current production, created better conditions for the continual collecting of contemporary applied art and design. Three years later (in 1970) exhibitions of the contemporary applied artists – "Salons of MAA" – became part of the regular yearly exhibition cycle of the Museum.

The Applied Arts Collection from the Inter-war Period

The intensive acquisition of the works of applied arts from the period between the two world wars began in the 1970s, when the local milieu started to value works from this period. Since then, the Department has established collections of fashion, furniture, graphic design, plaques, glass objects, porcelain and metal, that assert the taste of the Serbian middle-class during the third and fourth decade of the twentieth century.

This department also possesses valuable collections of Dušan Jankovic and Miloš Babic who mainly worked in applied arts, as well as that of painter Vasa Pomorišac and architect Svetomir Lazic, who devoted only a part of their opus to the specific disciplines of applied arts.

Design for the poster for "1002nd night"
Design for the second, unexecuted, version of stained glass for the "Aero-club"
The Change of State Equals the Quantum Hypothesis on the Theory of Nonsense, or the Album of Mrs. A

From its very foundation the Museum of Applied Art follows the origins and development of the contemporary tapestry and textile art. Nowadays the Museum holds valuable collections of tapestry and contemporary textile representing the most important artists: from the pioneers who began their work in early 1950s to the representatives of younger generations.

In charge of the Department: Bojana Popović MA, Museum Advisor

Perpetual motion
industrial porcelain
Sculpture from the series "White Wedding"

Initiated in 1951, the collection of contemporary ceramics, as a part of the Department of Contemporary Applied Art, has around 400 artefacts created in the period from the mid-1950s to the first years of this century by artists from Serbia and ex-Yugoslavia together with some works of foreign artists.

The collection has two constituting parts – the artistic and industrial ceramics.

The part of artistic, unique, ceramics comprises works done by the artists of different generations and with different individual styles, ranging from the figurative to abstract expression.

The first works by the educated ceramists, dating from the end of sixth decade of the twentieth century, reveal a strong influence by traditional folk art. With the maturing of new generations of artists more liberal artistic forms, characteristic of contemporary visual art, are gradually applied. Experiments form the late twentieth and the beginning of this century, demonstrate the appearance of significant new ideas and works of art in multimedia. The works from the Museum's collection of contemporary ceramics were created in different ceramic art techniques: pottery, majolica, stoneware and porcelain. Some artists also use original combinations of ceramics and non-ceramic materials like metal, glass and wood. It is evident that the majority of artists are engaged in predominantly sculptural solutions; a smaller number finds inspiration in the pot.

The Contemporary Glass collection has more then 300 objects made from the 1950s to the end of twentieth century, when, due to an economic crisis, the glass factories either closed down or worked with inadequate capacity.

It could be said that a period of significant transformation in the creation of glass artefacts commenced in the 1950s. The ever-increasing mechanisation of production anticipated certain changes in the production process, which in turn demanded the synchronisation of that process with the industrial production programme. The production process requires teamwork of different professions (from the preparation of the cast, the blowing of the glass mass, to chiselling and polishing) where the design represents only one, although the most important phase in the creation of an object. The making of an object is closely connected with the highly complex technology used in industrial plants. In the production process of artistically designed glass we must not forget the importance of a close connection between the artist, the technologist and particularly the glass blower since the final result and the quality of the product depend on his skills and knowledge.

The contemporary glass in Serbia is designed by artists connected with the factories in Paracin, Zajecar and Prokuplje. The onsets of modern design in Serbia in the 1960s happened at the time when Veselko Zoric, Aleksandar Portnoj and Dimitrije Gvozdenovic worked in Paracin, Zoran Prvanovic in Zajecar and Dragan Drobnjak in Prokuplje. On the one hand, their activity had undoubtedly influenced the quality of production, but the organisation of production evidently lacked elaborate and original production programme.

The objects of artistically designed glass kept in the collection of the Museum were created by artists from different generations, of varied artistic concepts and personal poetics.

The works by Ana Piksijades, Dragan Drobnjak, Aleksandar Portnoj and Emilija Marodic disclose a novel concept in the treatment of the and the modelling of glass mass. The best works of these artists of different aesthetic conceptions and poetic expressions, are glass sculptures of complex symbolic meanings.

In charge of the Department: Jelena Popović, Senior Curator

Composition 020462
A Calendar
Benvenuto Cellini

The Department for Contemporary Applied Art has, since the year 1967 when it was established, intensively followed and collected the products of modern visual media: posters, illustration, graphical signs and emblems, technical arrangement of books and book illustrations, caricatures, and pages of strip-cartoons (comics, comix); also the achievements of modern photography from 1945 until our time. Particularly valuable are the works of the pioneers of modern graphical design in Serbia ( Mihajlo Petrov, Dragoslav Stojanovic Sip, Miloš Ciric, Aleksandar Pajvancic – Alex, Slobodan Mašic, Bata Kneževic et al.), and a rare collection of Polish posters that represents a very broad and valuable selection of modern works of famous, now almost legendary, Polish graphic designers. In the collections of book illustration and book design are the original works, some published and some not, of recognized Serbian illustrators and graphic artists, whose creativity has determined the graphic scene in Serbia after the World War Two. Those are names that cannot be ignored, such as Zlata Bilic, Ida and Rastko Ciric, Bogdan Kršic, Bosiljka Kicevac, Mihajlo Pisanjuk, Dušan Petricic . . .

The collection of modern, artistic and documentary photography in Serbia includes valuable works by the doyens of the old and middle generation of artistic photographers: Branibor Debeljković, Vojislav Marinković, Branislav Karanović, Dragoljub Kažić, Tomislav Peternek, Mirko Lovrić.

Since 1996, the Department for Contemporary Applied Art owns and intensely follows modern artistic production in the areas of comics, making a collection of the works of the middle and young generation of artists: Dragan Živancevic, Saša Rakežic, Aleksandar Zograf, Zoran Janjetov . . .

Special collections in the Department are legated ones, from the post-WW2 graphic designers and illustrators Djordje Milanovic and Dragoslav Stojanovic Sip.

In charge of the Department: Slobodan Jovanović, Senior Curator