Allegory of Echo, 1922
oil on canvas
208.2 x 100 cm
The specific, elongated format of the painting Allegory of Echo was commissioned for Robert Deutsch Maceljski, a wholesale distributor and industrialist, one of the most influential patrons on the Zagreb art scene between 1910 and 1939. It is part of a series of decorative compositions with allegorical depictions of beauty, echo, music and labour. The scene is dominated by the nude female figure, constructed with the classic use of volume and characteristic green and brown hues. The landscape is completely abstracted, crystalised and condensed into the background. Deep reductionism and flatness of the image are typical of Uzelac’s painting in the early 1920s, dominated by the influence of Cubo-Constructivism and formal Expressionism.
Milivoj Uzelac (Mostar, 1897 – Pasto Sobre, Cotignac, 1977) came to Zagreb in 1912 where he briefly studied printmaking with T. Krizman, and then from 1912 to 1914 he studied painting at the Provisional Advanced School of Arts and Fine Crafts under O. Iveković. The war interrupted his studies, but in 1915, as a military deserter he went to Prague where he occasionally attended lectures at the Academy and worked in Jan Preisler’s painting studio. He returned to Zagreb in 1919, but not for long, as he moved to Paris in 1923, where he spent almost his entire life, until 1963, when he moved to the Pasto Sobre estate in southern France, where he remained until his death. He created numerous drawings, illustrations of literary works, wall decorations (decorations of the Yugoslav Pavilion at the Exposition Internationale in Paris, 1937), templates for tapestries, posters and theatre stage sets.
Text: Marta Radman, Intern curator © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb 2022