Milena Pavlovic Barili was a Serbian painter and poet. She was born in Pozarevac, Serbia, 1909. Her father was an influential Italian composer and writer, while her mother was a school teacher. Milena graduated at the Royal School of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1926. and Munich Art Academy in 1928.
Milena Pavlovic Barili left Serbia in the early 1930s. She lived in Spain, Rome, Paris and London. In Europe she socialised with the likes of Andre Breton and Jean Cocteau, and befriended with Giorgio de Chirico whose paintings had great influence on her work. In 1939. she left Europe and went to United States. She lived in New York and worked as a designer for different fashion magazines. She died in New York in a a horse riding accident in 1945.
Work of Milena Pavlovic Barili can be seen in the context of the so-called “return to order”, which was a predominant stream in European art of twenties and thirties. Lazar Trifunovic considers her art belongs to Surrealism. Miodrag B. Protic finds three different periods in her career: “Munich period” (1928-1932), “antique period” (1932-1936) and “Renaissance period” (1936-1945). Her painting is, similarly to her poetry, magical and enigmatic, with a few motifs that are constantly being repeated in her paintings: broken vase, lamp, female portraits (or her self-portrait). Inspiration for her style can be found in stylization typical for fashion magazines (where she worked as a designer), in painting of old Spanish masters – Velásquez, Goya, Bosh. Most of all she was influenced by Giorgio de Chirico.
Many of her works are included in permanent collections in Rome, New York, the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art and her hometown of Požarevac. The house in which she was born has been converted into a museum honoring her work.
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