A Girl with a Lute, 1969. Djevojka sa Lutnjom.
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting
fine art painting

Mersad Berber

Bosnian ( b.1940 - d.2012 )

A Girl with a Lute, 1969. Djevojka sa Lutnjom.

  • Gold leaf and oil paint on paper
  • Signed lower right

Image size 13.4 inches x 10.8 inches ( 34cm x 27.5cm )
Frame size 20 inches x 17.5 inches ( 51cm x 44.5cm )


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Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting embellished with gold leaf by Bosnian artist Mersad Berber dating from 1969.
The work is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame (which is shown in these photographs), mounted using conservation materials and behind non-reflective glass (Tru Vue UltraVue® UV70 glass).
This vintage painting is in superb condition. It wants for nothing and is supplied ready to hang and display.
The painting is signed lower right.

Mersad Berber is one of the most significant and best-known contemporary artists in the world. His achievements are all the more incredible because he was a member of Bosnia’s Muslim community and lived through the chaos of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. He achieved an unprecedented degree of international celebrity for an artist from this region; during his lifetime had exhibitions in London, Hamburg, Istanbul, Chicago, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, Madrid, Zurich and New York. In 2009 a large retrospective was held in Barcelona, covering the whole of his career.

Berber was born in Bosanski Petrovac, Yugoslavia in 1940. He was the eldest son of Muhammed Berber and Sadika Berber, a well-known weaver and embroiderer. The family moved to Banja Luka because of damage caused to their city from World War II. Berber demonstrated a striking ability to draw from a young age and as a child he created illustrations and cartoons. He first exhibited his work, together with Kemal Sirbegovi, at the age of 18. He then trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, graduating with a BA and then MA. He went on to teach at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. In 1967 he married Amgisa, known as “Ada”. She was a fashion designer and had a great impact on his art. In 1978 Berber became professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. From 1980-85 he worked as the director of the animation film Tempo Secondo. In 1982 Berber worked on the set and as costume designer for the production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Folger Theatre, Shakespeare Centre, Washington D.C. In 1984 Berber quit teaching and became a freelance artist, and his works were acquired by the Tate Gallery in London. In 1992 his house and studio were damaged during the turmoil in Yugoslavia and he moved to Zagreb with his family, opening a new studio there, as well as in Dubrovnik. He lived and worked between Zagreb and Dubrovnik for the next twenty years. He died in Zagreb on 7th October 2012, aged 72.

From 1966 Berber received more than 50 awards, including a Gold Medal and Honorary Dilpoma at the First International Exhibtion of Graphic Art in Trieste, the first aware at the 11th International Biennale in São Paulo, the Honorary Prix at the 10th International Biennale of Graphic Art in Tokyo and the first award at the 7th Mediterranean Biennale in Alexandria.

Throughout his career he created cycles of paintings which chronicle events in his Bosnian-Herzegovinian history. He took inspiration from the great European art masters, from Renaissance to Art Nouveau, delved back into medieval times and combined the best of ancient and modern. There is an iconic mystery and intensity in his work which makes it timeless and intensely alluring. His art covers a range of subjects, including elegant female portraits, which are based on High Renaissance prototypes, and many paintings of horses, which recall his love for the peasant life of the Bosnian countryside.

The fragmentation of images that is very common in his works reflects his sensitivity to the vulnerability and complexity of life. Berber worked in many ways, combining techniques and creating paintings, graphic art, tapestry, illustrations and maps. His artwork is mainly created using oil on canvas or panel, but he also created some works on paper, and frequently included elements of mixed media, which sometimes extended on to the frame of the work.

A museum dedicated to Mersad Berber is currently being built in the centre of Sarajevo, where Berber lived with his wife for many years. It has been designed by the renowned Bosnian architect Zlatko Ugljen. This will enhance tourism in the area and celebrate his work.

This original artwork was created from gold leaf and oil paint on paper. It depicts a young woman holding a lute and is in the softest palette of russet and golds. The woman is wearing a richly decorated dress and headdress. Her profile is serene and the whole image is one of culture, composure and calm. There is a timeless quality about this painting; it is at once both ancient and very modern.