Seine with the Eiffel Tower, 1936
oil on canvas, 92 x 65 cm
The veduta Seine with the Eiffel Tower from 1936 is one of the best works from the second, Parisian-Provençal phase in Milivoj Uzelac’s oeuvre. After the expressionist ferocity and engaged and provocative paintings full of doubts from the earlier Prague-Zagreb period, Uzelac’s painting after moving to France in 1923 is characterized by a ‘return to order’ and the ubiquitous desire for the affirmation of colour, harmony and the beauty of life. In Paris, Uzelac paints and exhibits intensively, and his scenes of fascinating spontaneity and vitality are very popular with fashionable French audiences. Apart from nudes and portraits, Uzelac’s exceptional gift is particularly confirmed in a series of cityscapes and panoramas with delicate colour refinement and structural balance. With the surreal, somnambular view of the Seine with the Eiffel Tower, Milivoj Uzelac closes the circle started by the lapidary Pons des Arts by Josip Račić in 1908.
Milivoj Uzelac (Mostar, 1897 – Cotignac, 1977) was educated in Banja Luka, Zagreb and Prague. Although he lived in France for more than half a century, he maintained close contacts with the Croatian art scene and colleagues, particularly Vilko Gecan, with whom he was very close both privately and professionally since young age. He staged regular exhibitions in his homeland. Milivoj Uzelac’s Cézanneism, his expressionist and later neo-classicist advances contributed significantly to the development of Croatian artistic modernity, especially in the period between the two world wars.
Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagic, Senior curator of the National Museum of
Modern Art© National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranic© Nacionalni muzej moderne umjetnosti, Zagreb