On this day in 1934, Ljubomir “Ljuba” Popovic was born – a Serbian painter who lived and worked in France for over 50 years.
This academician is indisputably one of the biggest names of the contemporary art scene. He was born in Tuzla (BiH), spent his childhood in Valjevo, and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade.
He learned painting from Marko Celebonovic, Djordje Andrejevic Kun, Milo Milunovic… In addition to Olja Ivanjicki, Leonid Sejka and others, he was also a member of the Mediala group.
In 1963 he decided to move to Paris, taking with him only a block of drawings and five painted canvases. Celebonovic directed him to Jeannette Signac, the daughter of painter Paul Signac, who introduced him to Rene de Solier, a renowned art theorist. De Solier wrote a text for a monograph on Ljuba, the first ever published in France about a Yugoslav painter.
Ljuba socialized out with many prominent figures on the French art scene. His international career was marked by a great number of solo and collective exhibitions. As many as 13 monographs have been published about him!
“Paintings take on a destiny of their own that cannot be influenced and that’s something illusory to even consider. The only thing that matters is the marvelous energy that flows through them and leaves traces in the life of the painter as well as in the life of the collector,” he once stated.
His paintings are nowadays found in prestigious museums, galleries and in private collections.
With his support, the Valjevo Modern Gallery (Moderna Galerija) was established, which celebrated its 30th anniversary four years ago.
He married twice. First to architect Natasa Jancic with whom he had daughters Adriana and Tiana, and the second time with architect and psychologist Slavica Batos with whom he had son Aleksa.
Ljubomir Ljuba Popovic passed away on August 12, 2016 in Belgrade. He was laid to rest in Valjevo, on a hill above the house where he spent his childhood.
A retrospective exhibition of paintings, “Ljuba Popovic (1934-2016),” opened last month at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). Visitors will be able to see it until October 20. The exhibition’s authors are Nikola Kusovac and Slavica Batos.