Pavle Paja Jovanović

Pavle “Paja” Jovanović was a Serbian painter who painted more than 1,100 works including: The Wounded Montenegrin, Decorating of the Bride and Migration of the Serbs. Paja was also the premier portraitist of Europe after 1905, he painted the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria over 14 times, he painted royalty, major industrialists, scientists, bankers, oil barons and monopolists, including certain heirs to the Standard Oil fortune in the United States of America.

He was a very sought-after portraitist world-wide, which made him incredibly wealthy in his lifetime. Many European and international museums carry his works, signed under various names including: Paul Joanowitch in the National Gallery of Victoria and also two portraits in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Paul Joanowits, Paul Ivanovitch, Paul Joanovitch, Paul Joanovitsch, P. Joanowitsch and others.

Serbian Artist Paja Jovanovic - The Wounded Montenegrin; Gallery of Matica Srpska
Serbian Artist Paja Jovanovic – The Wounded Montenegrin; Gallery of Matica Srpska

A realist inspired by Serbian history and everyday life of the people, painter Pavle Paja Jovanović (1859-1957) made a significant influence on education, culture and patriotism of his nation.

There are a few painters who can boast with the fact that at the age of fourteen they were commissioned to paint a significant piece like Serbian painter Pavle Paja Jovanović was.

Church municipality in the town of Vršac, where he lived, decided to ask him to paint the saints for new bells in Saborna church. Hence Paja as a teenager got his first commission and at the same time a sort of a pass for the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

After lyceum, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of the professor Christian Griepenkerl, esteemed painter and educationalist. He finished his studies in three years, but he continued his education with the same professor, in a special course for historic painting.

At the same time he attended several important courses taught by Leopold Carl Müller, at the time a very popular and celebrated painter of historic and genre painting, who was particularly known for his paintings with oriental motifs, especially from Egypt. Soon Paja became his best student.

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