HRH Crown Prince Alexander, together with TRH Crown Princess Katherine and Prince Alexander, received and presented to the public today in the White Palace in Belgrade, Serbia, a new art object in the Royal Collection, a painting by the artist Vasa Pomorišac from 1940, a portrait of HM King Peter II in the uniform of a cavalry second lieutenant.

The portrait is a gift to the Royal Collection from the Dizdarević family, and the presentation was done in the presence of the Minister of Culture of Serbia, HE Nikola Selaković, and Mr. Radivoje Dizdarević, a long-time friend of the Royal family Karadjordjevic, as well as members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown and Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis, the Crown Princess’ sister.

On this occasion, all other art paintings that have become part of the Royal Collection in the past 20 years through the efforts of the Crown Prince and with the help of benefactors were also exhibited. These nine portraits thus form a unique collection, following the desire of the Royal Family to contribute to the preservation of our cultural heritage and the cultivation of a culture of remembrance. It includes works of Jovan Bijelić, Vasa Eškićević, Špiro Bocarić, Kosta Hakman, and other prominent artists from the time of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

“My father has, once again, returned home. This wonderful portrait of King Peter II is again where it belongs to be, in the home of the Royal family. I am very grateful to our dear friend Rade for this great gift and for his contribution to the Royal Collection.

My ancestors, although often seen as soldiers, were great fans and patrons of art, and especially our domestic artists. As a consequence of unfortunate circumstances from the storms that occurred in our national history, a lot of these works of art were taken far away, not only from our family home but from Serbia as well. I am very happy to see them returning to Serbia, where they belong, so our people can see them and enjoy in their beauty.  It is important for our cultural heritage, for our legacy.

I am very happy that I see the strong efforts of the state on the same path. We were all witnesses of numerous artworks return, such as Paja Jovanovic and only a few days ago, a model for the monument to Kings Peter I and Alexander also came to Belgrade. This portrait of my father that we receive today, as well as other artworks of the Royal Collection, is our contribution to this process. It is important to keep the memory of our past, as we today are just part of an unbreakable, long line that connects us with our ancestors, with our roots.” stated the Crown Prince on this occasion.

Minister Selakovic expressed his satisfaction for being present today at the White Palace and the pleasure to see that the art dedicated to Karadjordjevics is being kept in “the most natural place in the world, the home to which King Peter II returned”. His Excellency also emphasized: “Return is full of life and meaning, even when it is uncertain, dangerous and difficult.” Often full of anxiety, for a student, for a soldier, for a traveller, for those who are exiled. How exalted this return is, when it represents the return of a King! The king who couldn’t cross the threshold from which he was carried away by the whirlwind of war and who remained out of his reach because of the games of those which are too big and too powerful, to understand what humanity and justice dictate.

Yet in a symbolic way, thanks to art, in which justice can sometimes only be achieved, the King returned. The fate of the Serbian kings is strange, full of victories and tragedies, just like the history of our people. The Serbian kings and the Serbian people have always lived one life and one history that they shared, for better or for worse.” The Minister concluded that we are all on the right path and that, inspired by events like today’s, we will continue to collect pieces of our scattered history around the world, and that this return means that we, as a people, are coming together.

Portrait of King Peter II Karađorđević in the uniform of a cavalry second lieutenant which today became part of the Royal Collection, in addition to artistic value, has exceptional historical significance. The artwork is done in the oil on canvas technique.

The exhibition of Vasa Pomorišac works, which was opened in the Gallery of Matica Srpska in October last year, attracted a lot of attention and interest from the public. With this event today, we wish to once again highlight the importance and topicality of the work of this significant Serbian artist.

Vasa Pomorišac studied painting in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Munich, and specialized in painting on glass at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. Thus he became the first Serbian painter who was educated in Great Britain and worked in this technique. After returning to Belgrade in 1925, in addition to painting, he was also involved in making stained glass windows in public institutions and private mansions. He stayed in Paris between 1935 and 1939. He taught at the Royal Art School in Belgrade and was later appointed as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1942 and in 1950 as a professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade.