A Bridge, 1916 / 1917
oil on cardboard
48.5 x 39.5 cm
A Bridge from 1916/17 is one of Uzelac’s earliest paintings but also his most unusual and most compact. His presentation at the Spring Salon in 1917 foreshadowed new tendencies and the imminent rise of modernism that will be a significant characteristic of the informal group of the ‘Prague Four’ and the Salon period from 1919 to 1921. Following in the footsteps of Kraljević and the Cézannesque teachings of his Prague teacher Jan Preisler, Milivoj Uzelac constructs the scenes of a new reality characterized by strong expressivity, general anxiety and suggestive light contrasts.
Milivoj Uzelac (Mostar, 1897 – Cotignac, 1977) was educated in Banja Luka, Zagreb and Prague. Although he permanently moved to France in 1923, Uzelac’s new versions of Cézanneism, Expressionism and finally Lhote’s academic Cubism had a particularly decisive influence on the new generation of Croatian painters between the two wars. He had regular exhibitions in his homeland and maintained close contacts with his colleagues, particularly Vilko Gecan, with whom he was very close both privately and professionally since young age.
Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, Senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern art, Zagreb, 2022