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40 | Proleće » Spring glow of summer, the whiteness of winter and, above all, the greenery of spring. However, 80 years after his death, the character of thisman, oneof themosthighlyeducatedSerbianartists, is still best described by the canvases on which he conjured “flaming emotion”, as defined by famous art critic of the period Todor Manojlovic, emphasising the visionary nature of Šumanović’s painting, orientated towards beauty, that still remains overwhelming in the work of this painter from Šid. Born inVinkovci in 1896, his fairlywealthy and educated family returned toŠid in1900, to today’sMemorial House, whichwas only bought by theMunicipalitymuch later. After completinghighschool inZemun, Sava resisted his father’s wish for him to become a lawyer, as he’d already developed his artistic inclinations. He would later rejoice in the colours of all seasons, but perhaps most of all in spring, when the sun’s rays would entice delicate buds to open in the surrounding gardens. “In carriages, he would tour the fields, orchards and vineyardsofŠidandthesurroundingarea, andall ofSrem, and he was attracted by the contrasting lighting of the morning, afternoon and evening, sketching everything with a pencil, writing down the details of colouring. He would then paint in his studio, becoming the creator of a new cosmos,” explains Jovana Lakić, director of the Sava Šumanović Gallery. And that new cosmos is woven from light and filled with order and harmony. That’s why art historianMilanKašanin (1895-1981) saidinthesamecontextthat “onnoneofourartists’boards and canvases can one see so many white colours – white female bodies, white flowers, white houses, white streets under snow”. In spring, the petals of blossoming plum trees on the Srem plain are also white, fluttering gently towards Fruška Gora, the only mountain in the whole of Vojvodina. In order to develop such a strong love for his homeland, Sava had to travel and compare, so he says: “That Šidarea is themost picturesque andmost beautiful tome among all those I’ve seen so far”. He also thought Šidwas given its lovely appearance by dust, because the town appears “powdered” andtame, “like theareasaroundParis...” It was in Paris that Sava attended the academy of prominent art pedagogue and critic André Lhote, and after that his works included a note of cubism, sprouting from the preceding art nouveau, symbolism and expressionism. Savawas alsoassociatedwithpost-Cubism, constructivism, traditionalism, neoclassicism, Fauvism and poetic realism, only to ultimately and unavoidably settle on personal poetics. He personally referred to this poetic as the “how I know and can style”, in accordance with what dictated his mood, knowledge and motives. Thebeautyofhishomelandenticedhundredsofpaintings out of him, andmost of themwere created in the last decade of his life, when his famous “Šid ladies”, or “Lady bathers”, were also born. The painter himself said about them, “they reallydon’t exist inŠid, because inthe stream (Šid’s) bathe only children and occasionally the odd girl hidden by a bush”. That’s because, like the great Renoir, Sava used a single model for a series of group compositions, who posed better for him in Šid than all Parisiennes, as he insisted. By multiplying her likeness, the artist sought to achieve a unity of style that he altered during his life, depending on influences andhispersonal preferences.That’swhyhis LuncheonontheGrass is linkedwiththeworkofÉdouard Manet, while his Drunken Boat is all but a citation from The Raft of the Medusa byTheodore Gericault. His leafy landscapes are empty in the sense of the human presence, yet they are filled with various forms of light. In his springtime scenes, the whiteness of the flowers is balanced with the shine of the still rising sun, while the winter sun surpasses the whiteness of the day, enriched with silvery tones. There are no people there – in their place are depicted the contours of houses, trees and the furrowsof ploughedfields.Heonly reallybecame aware of people later, when painting children from Šid andmultiplying the figure of that local blonde, as well as the black-hairedwomenhe’d sketched inParis to give her company among the “ŠidWomen”.These women, exhibited over an entire wall, prove breathtaking to visitors to this Šid gallery, which preserves 417 of hisworks, among them350oil-on-canvaspaintings and67sketchesof various techniques. The observer is also rapturously silent when viewing the strength of The Pickers, carrying baskets filled with grapesandwithagloriousvineyardinthebackground.AficionadosofSava’sworkandpersonalitysimplyfeel thathe wasstruckbyagreatartisticcharge immediatelybeforehis death, andwonderwhat elsehewouldhaveachieved if he hadn’t departed too early. If he is remembered by younger generations for his painting achievements, whichwere often revolutionary, his contemporaries knew that Sava wasapantheist, anintellectual, agentleman, “whodiffered from his fellow painters in terms of the way he dressed, heldhimself and spoke”. It is amatter of the choice of the imaginative to visualise him sitting in a horse drawn carriage, riding through landscapes and ripening orchards, wandering along dusty roads in search of inspiration. Or eternity, which is his rightful place. Sava Šumanović Proleće u dolini Sv. Petke (1934), ulje na platnu, Galerija slika Sava Šumanović u Šidu Sava Šumanović, Spring in the Valley of St. Petka (1934), oil on canvas, Sava Šumanović Gallery, Šid