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On the occasion of the Museum Day
we have the honour to represent the exhibition and study-catalogue

"Applied Art and Belgrade 1918-1941"

6 November 2011 – 31 January 2012
Galleries at the ground floor of the MAA

Opening ceremony: Sunday, 6th November 2011 at 7 pm
Mr. Predrag Marković, minister of culture, media and information society of the Republic of Serbia is opening the exhibition

Author of the exhibition and study catalogue:
Bojana Popović, MA, Museum Advisor, Department of Contemporary Applied Artst, MAA

Catalogue design: Danijela Paracki
Exhibition design: Borjana Šuvaković
Conservation of exhibits and preparation for display: Milan Andrić and Marija Labudović
Exhibition
Applied Art and Belgrade
1918-1941

Opening ceremony
The exhibition "Applied Art and Belgrade 1918-1941" offers for viewing works which are part of museum collections or are kept in private ownership as well as documentary material related to decorative sculpture and painting, interior design and furniture, ceramic art, textile, silver and graphic design.

The study (264 pages and 140 illustrations) by Bojana Popović, MA completes this exhibition. The study provides insight into extensive, well documented and recent researches of applied art created in the period between the two World Wars. The author discusses the attitude of contemporaries towards applied art, their prejudices, their desires to create a national style and their acceptance of European applied art. The reviewer, Dr. Milanka Todić points out that "what makes this study different from all previous writings on applied art between the two World Wars in our country is the fact that it recognizes micro historical and individual contributions within the context of the wider national and of the European cultural discourse".

Exhibition
Applied Art and Belgrade
1918-1941

Opening ceremony

Two decades influenced by the World Wars represent a brilliant epoch in the history of applied art. Consisting of many extremes, it united tradition and the avant-garde, the general and the local, the concepts of social engagement and those of consumerism, hand and machine work, unique works and mass reproductions, elitism and populism, state of the art esthetics and trifling kitsch…Applied art became a commonplace element of contemporary life even in societies without previously built awareness about its significance. This was also the case with Belgrade where its inhabitants used to discuss important issues like: who should be commissioned with a relief on the building façade, who with stained glass windows in the entrance hall, who with frescoes in the dining room, who should be asked to make a Louis XVI sleeping room furniture, who should be engaged to promote a company…or which nicely illustrated book or magazine should make their pastime more pleasant?

Exhibition
Applied Art and Belgrade
1918-1941

Exhibition setup detail

Belgrade artists included applied art disciplines in their activities mainly as result of their education and building up abroad, in Paris, Vienna, Prague, Rome or London. The predisposition of the epoch towards union of architecture, sculpture, painting and applied art was another stimulator for developing a Renaissance man attitudes. So, sculptor Toma Rosandić created complete works of art on two occasions, one was the mausoleum of Petrinović family in Supetar on the island of Brač (1924-1927) and the other his own home in Belgrade (1927-1928). He himself designed every detail, from the building up to household and decorative items. Branko Krstić, architect and author of outstanding buildings, used to make sculptures, paintings, to lecture and also engage in ceramic objects making. There existed a circle of specialists in Belgrade as result of the boom of graphic design who made their careers in newspaper and book designs and illustrations, posters, announcements .... Among them were Dragoslav Stojanović and Dušan Janković who had worked for eminent publishers, film companies and advertising agencies when living in Paris.

Exhibition
Applied Art and Belgrade
1918-1941

Exhibition setup detail

Appearance of women artists, educated in European cultural centres who wished to engage in applied art for career was a new phenomenon. Generaly speaking they were rarely succesful, however there were some rewarding careers made like that of costume designer Milica Babić. Versatile Margita Gita Predić led the School for Application of Decorative Art (1926/1927 – about 1935) which developed into a cult place of well-to-do Belgrade ladies. In the school they became trained how to make nice and useful objects. Their works were exhibited at representative and school Autumn Exhibitons and were greately admired earning attention of the media.

Exhibition
Applied Art and Belgrade
1918-1941

Exhibition setup detail

Endeavours of Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak at the beginning of the twentieth century to create a national art style based on studies of Slavic and in particular of Serbian folk tradition brought him closer to the social elite preoccupied with issues of state identity and enabled him to become an accomplished applied artist. His vision thrived even after the War when he was commissioned by state institutions and people with conservative taste, who also supported the trend within the «national project» led by King Aleksandar and the art group Zograf (1927-1940) focusing at revival of Serbian mediaeval art. Drive to create a national style, common to many, particularly new established states and willingness to implement European applied art are two faces of the culture in the between-the-wars Belgrade.

The initial steps towards emancipation and professionalization of applied art were achieved notwithstanding the lack of a more significant background, small number of commissioners, lack of cooperation with manufacturers and of specialised professional associations, journals and exhibitons, as well as belated foundation of an adequate school. This also refers to the harmonization of national values with international tendencies which led to creation of valuable achievements and made Belgrade look like an open and flourishing town emanating European spirit.

All this is documented by the exhibition "Applied Art and Belgrade 1918-1941". Particular contribution makes the unique research study of the author Bojana Popović. Together with other titles published by this Museum the study provides valuable interpretations and offers deeper understanding of Serbian applied art.


Dušan Janković
design for a poster, 1923
Museum of Applied Art

Dragoslav Stojanović
magazine cover, Woman and the World, no. 10, 1937
Private property

Miloš Babić
design for a poster, 1932
Museum of Applied Art

Mihailo S. Petrov
design for a poster, 1935
Museum of Applied Art

Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak
half-armchair, first half of the Twenties
Museum of Applied Art

Margita Gita Predić
cabinet, c. 1929 and cabinet for a library, 1930
Private property

Dušan Janković
design for an armoire in the artist's bedroom, 1937
Museum of Applied Art

Milan Zloković i Sreten Stojanović
Bosnian Hall of the Djordjević family, 1922-1927
Photograph taken from: Lazar Trifunović, Sreten Stojanović, cataloge of the exhibition, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Belgrade 1973, fig. 16

Ilija Kolarović
facade relief Dance, 1935
Photo: Miloš Jurišić

Mladen Josić
fresco Addition to the Mortgage Bank Palace (at present the building of the National Museum) 1932
Photo: courtesy of the National Museum

Vasa Pomorišac
design for a stained glass in the hall of the Aero-club, 1932
Museum of Applied Art

Milan Nedeljković (?)
tea set, c. /after 1928
Museum of Applied Art

Ivan Tabaković
ceramic sculpture Mother and child playing, second half of the Thirties
Private property
Author of the exhibition and study catalogue: Bojana Popović, MA, Museum Advisor, Department of Contemporary Applied Artst, MAA