Milivoj Uzelac, Harvest, 1922

Milivoj Uzelac
Harvest, 1922
oil on canvas
147 x 115 cm

Uzelac’s Harvest from 1922 is, like his earlier paintings, influenced by Miroslav Kraljević, Expressionism, Lhote’s late academic Cubism and Cézanne’s art technique. The composition was executed during Uzelac’s stay in Zagreb and heralds a new preoccupation with colour and solid modelling that will culminate in the period after his imminent departure to Paris. The foreground is dominated by the figure of the artist’s wife Nataša, and the already picked fruits of life that the artist is handing over to her. In this painting, Uzelac is reinterpreting the biblical scene of Adam and Eve, but he has reversed the conventional order.
A prominent Croatian painter, graphic artist and illustrator, Milivoj Uzelac was born in Mostar in 1897. After having finished secondary school in Banja Luka, he moved to Zagreb in 1912 to continue his art education in Tomislav Krizman’s painting school. In 1913 and 1914, he studied under Oton Iveković in the Provisional Advanced School of Arts and Fine Crafts. From 1915 to 1919, he moved to Prague to avoid military conscription, where he worked in the studio of mentor and patron Jan Preisler and occasionally attended lectures at the Academy. After World War I, he returned to Zagreb and exhibited energetic compositions and expressionist portraits and nudes at the Spring Salon.
Although he lived and worked in France continuously from 1923 until his death in 1977, Uzelac staged regular exhibitions in Croatia and had a lasting and significant impact on the local art scene.

Text: Lorena Šimić, trainee curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023.

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