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Portrait of Queen Natalie Obrenovic

Oil on canvas

131 x 214 cm

Not For Sale

While enjoying great popularity in Paris with his painting “La Grande Iza”, Bukovac received an invite from the Royal Court to paint the portrait of Queen Natalie and the crown Prince Alexander. Instead of the conventional portrait in royal ornate style, Queen Natalie chose to wear a white ball gown which gave Bukovac the freedom to paint virtuously and effectively, as well as to contrast a dark background with lighter details that highlighted the beauty and softness of silk, tulle, fur, taffeta, and the Queen’s complexion. Bukovac wished to exhibit Queen Natalie’s portrait as quickly as at the upcoming Paris Salon, but he did not receive permission from the Royal Court. Having in mind that he signed himself and marked the date on most of his commissioned portraits, it is slightly unusual that a piece as significant as this one does not bear the same marking. It is possible that, due to the damage sustained during World War I and the restoration done in 1925, several centimeters of the canvas were cut off on the right side of the painting and that, therefore, Bukovac’s signature was mistakenly removed as well. For this portrait, Bukovac received the Medal of Honor of the Fifth Order of the Cross of Takovo, which is currently kept in the artist’s estate.