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Born in July 1855, the Croatian artist began his career in France where he painted in what is described as a “sugary” realistic style and gained great success at the Paris Salon. In 1887, Bukovac created what is possibly his best-known work, a nude Une Fleur (A Flower). The painting was well-received not only in France at the time, but it garnered numerous reviews and publications during his lifetime. Over the years he spent actively creating art, Bukovac’s style saw numerous changes – he was no stranger to stepping out of the set boundaries and rules dictated by the Salon. Both his life and work were nothing short of eclectic. The National Museum of Serbia keeps twenty-three of Vlaho Bukovac’s paintings. Between the portrait of Queen Natalie of Serbia (Natalija Obrenovic) made in 1882 and the portrait of King Alexander I (Aleksandar I Karadjordjevic) painted just before Bukovac’s death, there is a humble but stylistically and thematically diverse gallery of the artist’s oeuvre. Based on the established chronology and defined formative categories in painting, Bukovac’s artworks from the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade encompass almost all of the phases in his creative life – academism, realism, impressionism and symbolism, and as such they are represented for the first time in one place.
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