The aim of this paper is to present the participation of Russian architects and sculptors in the emerging and development of the Art Deco style in Serbian architecture, to point out eminent masters and significant monuments, as well as their territorial and quantitative representation. The study is based on analyses of the realized projects, relevant and accessible documents found in archives, museums, publications, photo documentation and private collections.
Art Deco architecture was one of the dominant stylistic phenomena in Serbia between the two world wars. The decorative premises made this essentially modern style suit the refined artistic taste of Serbian social elite, that engaged this style in creation of an image of its representative identity. In this period Belgrade enrolled architects arriving from Russia, who followed local artistic demands oriented toward decorative but modern architectural form. Art Deco in Serbia was based on moder­nization of construction and building form, nevertheless focused on the facade styling, enriched with ornaments, stylized reliefs, sculptures and fine-detailed ironwork.
Architects Medvedev, Stashevski, Papkov were adherents of the style of softened, rhythmical and ornamentally-rich architecture and developed a specific version of ornamental Art Deco. Roman Verhovskoj repeatedly interpolated elements of Art Deco style in his works, which are especially pronounced in sculptural decor of the ossuary constructed for the perished Russians in Belgrade. Vladimir Zagorodnjuk enriched many public and appartement buildings with reliefs. Viktor Lukomski designed the Palace of the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the State hotel on Avala.
Russian artists’ sculptural oeuvre of Art Deco style in Belgrade ranges from memorials to the fallen soldiers to the representations of dance that adorned the entrance of cinema “Belgrade”. Creating the interior of the most elite cinema in the city, architect Grigorij Samojlov brought to Belgrade the spirit of Hollywood and the style of elaborate Art Deco, thus marking Belgrade’s place on the “architectural” map of the world — the one comparable in importance to that of Paris, New York, Madrid, Casablanca, Havana and Mumbai. Art Deco architecture marked the period between the two world wars, becoming the most explicit form of positive creative global connections. In emanations of this style in Serbia, Russian artists were of great importance.