The painting “La Grande Catherine” by Montenegrin artist Miodrag Dada Đurić was recently sold for 165,100 euros at the prestigious Sotheby’s contemporary art auction held in Paris on June 5. This remarkable artwork, originating from a significant private collection in Paris, had an estimated value ranging from 80,000 to 120,000 euros. While the buyer’s identity remains undisclosed by Sotheby’s, the successful sale highlights the enduring appeal of Đurić’s work.
Unveiling the Artistic Gem
“La Grande Catherine” is an oil on canvas masterpiece that dates back to the period of 1958-1959. Created in the studio of Courcelles-lès-Gisors in the French Vexin region, it represents a pivotal phase in Đurić’s artistic career. The studio, a former cinema, became the focal point of his creativity thanks to the guidance and support of his representative and mentor, Daniel Cordier (1920–2020). Alongside other notable works like “L’Architecte,” “Le Sorcier,” and most notably, “Thomas More,” “Catherine the Great” stands as a testament to the exceptional artistic output during this period.
A Captivating Portrait
Empress Catherine II of Russia, widely known as Catherine the Great, takes center stage in “La Grande Catherine.” The choice of this historical figure as the subject matter is a reflection of the artist’s profound fascination with Russia. This fascination can be traced back to the influence of an important figure in Đurić’s life, his maternal grandfather, Dr. Jovan Kujačić. Dr. Kujačić, a renowned Russophile and the translator of Tolstoy into Serbo-Croatian, instilled in Đurić a deep appreciation for Russian culture and heritage. Through his brushstrokes, Đurić captures the essence of Catherine the Great, intertwining history and personal connections.
A Painter’s Palette and Inspiration
The color palette employed in “La Grande Catherine” starkly contrasts with that of “Thomas More.” While “Thomas More” is bathed in the luminosity of the Vexin region, reflecting Đurić’s newfound home, “Catherine the Great” predominantly features dark hues reminiscent of the rocky landscapes of his native Montenegro. It is within the confines of this contrast that Đurić’s artistic duality thrives, blending his cultural roots with his evolving experiences and influences as a self-proclaimed “voluntary exile.”
The Enduring Legacy of Miodrag Dada Đurić
Miodrag Dada Đurić, born in Montenegro, was a highly influential artist known for his distinct style and profound exploration of themes such as history, identity, and cultural heritage. He emerged as a prominent figure in the art world during the 1950s and gained international recognition for his unique blend of surrealism, symbolism, and expressionism. Đurić’s artworks often featured dreamlike landscapes, enigmatic figures, and intricate details, inviting viewers to delve into his imaginative realm. Throughout his career, Đurić’s artistic journey took him from Montenegro to Paris, where he found inspiration in the vibrant art scene and established himself as a key member of the artistic community. His works continue to captivate audiences worldwide, showcasing his remarkable talent and artistic vision.