A Self-Portrait, 1925
oil on canvas
Thanks to the figure having been placed in the foreground of the composition, Sava Šumanović’s A Self-Portrait painting from 1925 is an example of his approach to Figurative Art. Šumanović balanced the disproportionate relationship between the figure in the foreground and the interior in the background by having graded the view of the sequence of rooms in the depth of the painting. His A Self-Portrait belongs to the “green phase” of his work, which is evident in the grey-blue and green colour palette, which represents a departure from his earlier post-cubist phase.
Sava Šumanović began exhibiting at Croatia’s Spring Salon (1917) already as a student of the College of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, and had solo exhibitions set up as early as 1918 and 1920. He produced illustrations for the avant-garde magazine Juriš and stage designs for the Croatian National Theatre. Following his first successes in Zagreb, he moved to Paris where he worked at André Lhote’s studio. Upon his return to Zagreb, Šumanović was disappointed with the wider public’s lack of understanding of his art, so in protest he signed his paintings in French. Although Šumanović’s key exhibition of works painted in the style of classicised academic Cubism held in Zagreb in 1921 received good reviews, Šumanović moved back to Paris in 1925. Having gotten mentally ill, in 1930 he moved back to his parents’ home in Šid. He painted a series of cityscape vedutas, children’s portraits, landscapes, and compositions of women bathers and pickers in the spirit of Poetic Realism. He worked diligently until he was executed in World War II in 1942.
Text: Zlatko Tot, curator intern of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb