Paulina Sudarski from expressive cheerfulness to the tragic end

An Inquiry into the Painter's Past: A Study of Pauline Sudarski's Formative Era Through a Close Look at Her Path Through the Royal School of Art - Unknown Paths and Portraits of Youth Shape Her Artistic Legacy.

Paulina Sudarski

Paulina Sudarski: Artistic Elegance and Social Context of Belgrade in the Thirties

Although the nude is the most represented theme in Pauline Sudarski, we find a similar coloristic and intimate grayscale in her portraits. To this should be added the fact that the move is now somewhat clearer and more decisive, which also affects the strikingness of the personalities shown.

And again, it is essential to remember Professor Dobrović and his gentle graphicism in certain portraits that appear somewhat flat, sometimes black-edged, as Sudarska does in some of his works (Portrait of a woman with a hat, NMZR, inv. no. 81). And while most of the personalities portrayed by Dobrović are familiar to us (35), we don't know who is all posing for his student, so the characterization of the characters takes a backseat to her. It is mostly about studies, and all the basic features of his expression in his portraits are significantly weaker in her: psychologization of personality, atmosphere, compactness of the stroke, striking drapery, intense color... In addition, the characters in her portraits are the embodiment of solemn seriousness and maturity, calmness and dignity, both in expression and attitude (Portrait of a Woman, NMZR, inv. no. 60, Study of a Male Head, NMZR, inv. no. 155). We especially notice this on the standing figure of a Slovak woman (NMZR, inv. no. 219) or on the seated portrait of an Albanian (NMZR, inv. no. 218). Although the whole hands are not visible due to the long-sleeved clothes, the typical "Dobrović" redness and incompleteness is noticeable, which gives the impression of naivety and unnaturalness, all in the expressionist spirit.
In Belgrade during the thirties of the last century, life went on almost without any indication of the beginning of a war. Films could be seen in numerous cinemas, the Zoo was opened, and the First International Car Fair was held. (36) We went to the theater, and plays by Bernardo Šo and William Shakespeare were played along with Nušić, still the most frequently performed. Kolarč National University was opened, and the Art Pavilion "Cvijeta Zuzorić" will remain the only but significant exhibition space in Belgrade until the beginning of the war.
Artwork by Paulina SudarskiThe Belgrade corso, as one newspaper article said, was full of "lafov" and "lafica" who tried to follow the latest Parisian fashion. The owners of Belgrade salons, who strove to be at the European level, especially stood out in this regard. Civic modernism brought with it a new culture of living and dressing, which implied the disappearance of costumes. The same was transferred to the pictures. Nevertheless, the young student Paulina Sudarski retains some of the traditional costumes in the aforementioned picture of the Slovakian woman, as well as in the Albanian one, as a sign of their ethnicity. Unlike her professor, who portrayed the cultural and intellectual interwar elite to which he himself belonged, Paulina turns to the ordinary world. Her portraits lack the opulence, glamor and demeanor of one Olga Dobrović, who was a real "charismatic icon of style". (37)
Paulina herself, looking at her photos from those student days, exudes a measured clothing style, but with details that will emphasize her femininity and loveliness. While she was at the Academy, she would usually wear a white painter's coat over her clothes. But that's why on all other occasions she would wear a dress with a collar, or a lace blouse, while there would be some kind of necklace around her neck, a bracelet around her arm, and she would insert hairpins into her finely combed hair. She had hats or berets on her head, and in the winter she would always wear gloves with her fur coat. A small letter bag would usually be placed next to the elbow.
Paulina Sudarski was neither avant-garde nor revolutionary with her work and her life, her appearance and behavior, as well as her wider social involvement. But she was present. She was responsible and dedicated. And it was as if she approached everything with such heart and charisma, as she would end her life, thinking of others more than herself. In her photo-albums, there are not only photos of her. There were group and individual photo-portraits of her colleagues, under which she would write: Cuca, Vera, Riko....


35 Petar Dobrović, in addition to self-portraits and portraits of his wife Olga and son Đorđe, also portrayed Slobodan Jovanović, Kosta Strajnić, Milan Predić, Ševa and Marko Ristić, Veselin Masleša, Miroslav Krleža...
36 Simona Čupić, Civic Modernism and Popular Culture. Episodes of fashion, fashion and modern (1918-1941), Matica srpska Gallery, 2011, 20-21.
37 The same

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