Biography

January 28, 1898 Sombor — October 20, 1993 Sombor

Milan Konjović was second–born son of David Konjović, lawyer and royal public notary, and Vera, born Vukičević. The Konjovićs were natives of Sombor, where they came from the Patriarchate of Peć in the time of the “Great Serb migration” with Patriarch Arsenije Čarnojević in 1690. For centuries, they had a very important role in the political, social and cultural life of the town.

In 1914, Milan Konjović, as a grammar school student, exhibited some fifty works painted in nature. In 1919 he enrolled the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, in the class of Professor Vlaho Bukovac. Milan KonjovićAfter the second semester, he continued his education on his own. An avant–garde Czech painter Ian Zrzavi recommended him to study the art of Leonardo da Vinci. Afterwards he went to Vienna and in 1923 he made study travels to Munich, Berlin, and Dresden. He arrived in Paris with his later wife Ema Maštovska, whom he had met in Prague in 1924, and stayed there until 1932 when he finally returned to Sombor. He had successful one–man exhibitions in Paris, and also took part in several Paris Salon exhibitions. This is where Konjović’s first mature artistic physiognomy, his “blue phase” (1929—1933), came into being. Upon his return to Sombor, he devoted himself to painting his hometown, its landscape, people and ambience with the passion of a visionary who marks his works with his authentically creative personality. In summertime he painted in Dalmatia (Mlini, Cavtat, and Dubrovnik) and the period from 1934—1939 is the artist’s “red phase”. During the war, in 1941, while he was imprisoned in the camp in Osnabric he painted in tempera and made a large number of drawings. Upon his return to Sombor, in the years 1943, 1944 and 1949, Konjović made pastels and oil paintings in subdued colours. These works outlined the “gray phase” of his work (1940—1952). 1953 is the turning point in Konjović’s painting style: his attitude towards the subject becomes freer, the “colouristic phase works are dominated by pure, intensive colours and the artist stopped himself on the verge of abstraction. The new artistic orientation culminated and was present in his “associative phase” works (1960—1984). In 1985, he started to paint first variations on themes of the Byzantine art and by the end of 1990 Konjović has produced about thirty works of his new “Byzantine phase”. These works have completed the remarkable opus of about 6000 works, oil paintings, pastels, temperas, aquarelles, drawings, tapestries, stage designs, costume sketches, stained glass windows, mosaics, and graphics.

He took part in more than 300 one–man and 700 group exhibitions in the country and abroad. In 1979 he was elected a regular member of Vojvodina Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1986 he became a corresponding member of Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1992 a regular member of Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Milan Konjović received numerous significant awards and acknowledgments.

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