Art & Literature

Lazar Licenovski (1901 – 1964)

by Menka Karaspasovska, Curator& Art Historian 

Painter Lazar Ličenoski was born in Galičnik, Macedonia, on March 26, 1901 and died on April 10, 1964 in Skopje. After graduating from the Art School in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1927 he received a scholarship to continue his studies in France. From 1927 until 1929 he specialized in fresco painting techniques in the studio of Marcel Lenoir in Paris. For
a certain period he worked in the studio of the mosaic artist Paul Baudouin at the School of Applied Arts (Ecole des Arts et Métiers), and at the Academy “Grande Chaumiére’’ at the studio of André Lhote. He lived in Belgrade until 1945 and then moved to Skopje. He worked as a professor at the school of Applied Arts in Skopje from 1945 until 1964. During his lifetime he organized many solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad, and his work won numerous prestigious awards.

This year, as we celebrated 110 years since Lazar Ličenoski’s birth, an extensive exhibition of his work was opened at the National Gallery of Macedonia. The exhibition includes 180 works donated by his family to the Republic of Macedonia, for the collection of the National Gallery.

Lazar Ličenoski is the founder of Macedonian modern art who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the modern visual art expressive language in this country. He began his artistic career together with the first generation of Macedonian educated artists, in an environment full of unsolved social, national and cultural problems. As a modern artist he gave a new life to our artistic heritage, as a foundation on which his modern artistic aspirations were built.

Generally, we classify him as a painter of Macedonian landscape and the life of Macedonian people. He was very much inspired by the picturesque rural landscape. Traveling through the land, he was discovering the beauty of his homeland – Ohrid Lake with its surroundings; Galičnik; mountain Bistra and river Radika. The painter’s brush moved with a unique purpose of creating a harmony of colors, powerful in numerous shades and exceptional tonal values. He used soft and yet vivid colors. His palette is so rich that we can rightfully call him a Poet of Macedonian color. Beside landscapes he painted still lifes and compositions with motives from Macedonian people’s life such as: life of the old artists, craftsmen, farmers and fishermen, in which Macedonian folklore characteristics can be noticed. He also painted numerous portraits, which put him on the par with the best portraitists. We can conclude that Lazar Ličenoski is an artist who left to us invaluable art works which portray Macedonia in the most authentic way.