Museum of Paja Jovanović

The Museum of Paja Jovanović is housed in the residential building commonly called the Devanha Palace, built in the very centre of Belgrade in 1930 in the style of Academism.

By Museums of Serbia

Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

In 1969, this representative premises was reshaped after the model of Paja Jovanović’s luxurious studio in Vienna, used by the artist between 1895 and 1938. In accordance with his reputation as a painter and his collector’s passion, Paja Jovanović furnished his Viennese studio with sumptuous pieces of 18th-century furniture, a crystal mirror, bronze sculptures by French artists and luxurious applied art objects.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

The greatest part of them have been included in the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Paja Jovanović, which attracts visitors by its spirit of authenticity, atmosphere and beautiful paintings in vivid colors. Paja Jovanović’s unsurpassable talent and hard work yielded paintings with a harmonious, somewhat static composition, rendered with greater ease in his sketches.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

The museum holdings include 211 works (paintings, drawings and photographs) of Paja Jovanović dating from throughout his career. The paintings are divided into four categories: landscapes, portraits, history paintings and nudes. Peculiar details were Jovanović’s specialty and he often accentuated them, adding thus a new dimension to his paintings. His personal belongings make an important part of the Museum’s collection.

Portal by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

Oak-framed wall panelling with Louis XVI ornaments is a remarkable feature in the drawing room reconstructed on the model of the painter’s Viennese studio. Many a client was seated in a piece of furniture from the drawing room set while sitting for a portrait, and this can be clearly noticed in several paintings exhibited at the Museum of Paja Jovanović.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

The monumental wooden portal is a 16th-century Renaissance piece. In the artist’s studio in Vienna it adorned the entrance passage. The portal is sumptuously carved and gilded. Most probably, the artist brought it from one of his trips.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

It is not known when Paja Jovanović (Vršac, 1859 – Vienna, 1957) first visited Belgrade. It is reasonable to guess that it might have happened during his visits to the hometown, Vršac, or on his travels to the southern pars of Serbia in the closing decades of the 19th century.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

Although he never spent much time in Belgrade due to his painting commitments all over the globe, it remained a place to which he eagerly returned. Paja Jovanović started a correspondence with the officials of the Belgrade City Museum about establishing his legacy in Belgrade in 1950.

Interior (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir PopovićMuseums of Serbia

He wanted to bequeath to the City the pieces of his work and items of his painting equipment that he considered “worth preserving”, so that a studio could be set up – the master’s room attracting those who would like to learn something more about him and his art.

Salon, Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović, 18th – 19th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Interior, Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović, 1930, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Interior, Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović, 1930, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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The salon consists of a sofa and two armchairs in the style of Maria Theresa, made of gilded wood and covered with brocade, a table made of wood with gilding and a pink marble panel, as well as a bergere with a brocade upholstery. In addition to the period furniture, the salon also has oak paneling with profiles made of gilded moldings and brocade wallpaper, as well as a monumental mirror in a richly ornamented and gilded frame. The lavishly equipped salon adorned the painting studio of Paja Jovanović, located at 3 Mariahilferstraße in Vienna. Pieces of period furniture and applied art pieces that were an integral part of the salon were transported from Vienna to Belgrade, at the request of Paja Jovanović and his wife Hermina Dauber Jovanović Mouni, who donated them to the Belgrade City Museum.

Queen Marija Karađorđević's portrait (1900) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

The representative portrait was painted after the wedding of Princess Maria Hohenzollern (1900–1961), daughter of the Romanian King Ferdinand I (1865–1927), and King Alexander Karađorđević (1888–1934), in 1922. Queen Marija Karađorđević is presented in a long muslin dress and an overcoat with a fur collar. She is wearing a diadem of precious stones on her head and a long string of pearls around her neck. The Queen is sitting in an armchair that was part of the inventory of Jovanović's studio in Vienna.

A Nude on a Red Cloak (Mouni) (1918/1920) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

A Nude on the Red Cloak is part of a monumental triptych (three-part composition) which consists of two nudes and one portrait of the painter's wife Hermina Dauber Jovanović Mouni. Mouni is presented in an armchair from the painter's Viennese studio, on a bright red drapery. There is a metal tray with glass bottles and a lemon on the right side of the model. This nude is considered the "most colorful" in the work of Paja Jovanović.

The Proclamation of Dušan’s Code (1930) by Paja Jovanović (Vršac, 1859 – Vienna, 1957)Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia

The painting Coronation of Emperor Dušan was commissioned for the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. Paja Jovanović was determined to paint the Coronation of Stefan Dušan in Skopje as the Emperor of Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians on April 14, 1346. Preparations for the composition lasted two years. During the research, the painter had the help of the eminent historian Stojan Novaković.

The artist's original idea was to present the moment of Dušan's coronation in the temple of the Тhree-Handed Mother of God in Skopje, but on Novaković's advice it was decided to show the proclamation of the Code of Emperor Dušan. The painting was sent to Paris and Jovanović was awarded a gold medal. Upon his return from the Exposition, the painter made replicas of this composition, one of which is kept in the Paja Jovanović Museum.

Furor Teutonicus (1899) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

The heliogravure shows a historical event, the battle and the Germanic victory over the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest. The name is taken from the work Bellum civile by the Roman poet Lucan, where war spirit of the Germanics (Teutons) is called Furor Teutonicus. 

Furor Teutonicus is thematically related to the glorification of the war power of the Germanic people, which was popular in the national programs of the 19th century, as well as to the emphasis on the people as a collective national hero.  The heliogravure was created based of Jovanović's painting of the same name, executed in the oil on canvas technique, which was exhibited and awarded in numerous European and American cities.

Vlada Ilić Portrait (1940) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

The portrait of the President of the Belgrade Municipality, Vlada Ilić, is one of the official, representative portraits. The subject is presented in a tailcoat with a ribbon and the Order of St. Sava medal, while the outlines of the painter's studio in Vienna and its inventory (painting, fireplace and equestrian sculpture of St. George) are in the background.

 The portrait was painted as an order from the Administration of the City of Belgrade for the ceremonial hall of the Municipality. After Ilić's mandate ended, it was handed over for safekeeping to the Municipal Museum, today the Belgrade City Museum.

Landscape in Tempest (1880) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

Landscape in Tempest

The painter presented a rugged landscape before a storm or a tempest. Based on the fragments of the fortified city that are visible in the depths of the painting, it can be assumed that the motif was created during the artist's travels in the Balkans during the ninth decade of the 19th century, in Montenegro (Medun) or in the south of the coast (Bar, Ulcinj or Skadar).

Mill Interior (1884/1885) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

The painting shows the interior of the mill in brown tones. The study was created in the first half of the 19th century during the painter's travels in the Southern Balkans. At that time, Paja Jovanović painted numerous details of the furniture of rural households, which then appeared as part of genre compositions from the life of the people in the Balkans.

Flowers in a Vase (1886/1890) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

Flowers from (cc.) 1950 is considered to be the last or one of the last paintings by Paja Jovanović. Flowers in a vase is a motif that the artist painted in his late period, mainly during the Second World War. Depictions of still life were not so often present in Paja Jovanović's painting opus. They are mainly related to the segment of the artist's "private" painting, which was not intended for public display, but was created in the studio and for the studio.

Portrait of a Young Woman in a Pink Dress (1930) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

In the Portrait of a Young Woman in a Pink Dress, it is possible to recognize the painter's wife and favorite model Hermina Dauber Jovanović Mouni, who poses in the interior of the artist's Viennese studio. Mouni is presented in a gorgeous dress as a lady from high society. Her beauty is especially emphasized by the harmonious proportions of the body, arms and neck, as well as the decoration in the form of a yellow rose, the artist's favorite flower and the frequent motif on portraits of women.

Portrait of a Lady by a Fireplace (1900/1910) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

The lady by the fireplace is portrayed in a standing position, in a rich dark purple dress with flowers at the waist. In the background, the interior of Jovanović's studio in Vienna is faithfully painted – a part of the fireplace, showcase, a mirror and a replica of an ancient sculpture from the 19th century.

The young woman resembles Jovanović's wife Hermina Dauber Jovanović Mouni, who was his favorite model. In a large number of portraits, Mouni is presented as a lady from high society, dressed in sumptuous dresses, while posing in the representative salon space of the painter's Viennese studio.

Portrait of Baroness Erlanger (1907/1912) by Belgrade City Museum, Photographer: Vladimir Popović and Pavle (Paja) JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

Ida von Erlanger (1865–1914), was the daughter of Victor von Erlanger and Harriet von Bognard. Portrait of Baroness Erlanger is one of the most significant portraits of Jovanović by Viennese ladies, painted in the interiors of luxurious salons from the beginning of the 20th century. Based on the monumental format, it is assumed that the portrait was intended to decorate the villa of a the Baroness’s noble family.

The position of the woman’s figure dressed in a translucent dress with a cloak indicates her high position, origin and reputation. The background depicts details such as a sofa in the style of Louis XVI, a fragment of a painting on the wall, a period style table and a glass jug.

Credits: Story

Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

Belgrade City Museum
The narration was provided by Isidora Savić -  curator.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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