1934-1940 Early childhood
1941 - 1952 School years in Valjevo
1953-1957 Belgrade, Academy of Applied Arts
1957-1959 Belgrade, Academy of Fine Arts
Following the expulsion from the Academy of Applied Arts, a second chance smiled upon him in his career as a painter. Professor Ivan Tabaković,
who appreciated his work and did not agree with the decision, recommended
Ljuba to his colleague from the Academy of Fine Arts, Professor Marko Čelebonović. Ljuba was accepted in Čelebonović’s class, as a student of the fourth year. This exceptional pedagogue supported Ljuba in the pursuit of his own artistic expression, restricting his interventions to occasional friendly advice. At that time, Ljuba had already had a fairly good place for work, which he had found a year before and which he had refurbished with the help of his fellow
students Nikola Rudić and Miša Martinović. That was a spacious hexagonal dome nestled on top of a multi-storey building in Zagrebačka Street, overlooking the Sava River and opening to the sky. Through five upright vertical windows, the beams of yellowish light interspersed the darkness in the studio, creating a curious interplay of shadows. Many paintings made between 1957 and 1959 bear in their titles the reminiscence of the studio: Phantoms of the Attic (1958), Attic Nude (1958), The Green Image of the Attic (1959), etc. The paintings of this period are dominated by the
human figure, often effaced, motionless and confined in an airless space filled with clueless apprehension. His palette ranged between yellow ochre and burnt umber, with occasional hints of red and green shades. At the student exhibition that traditionally closed each academic year, Ljuba’s paintings captured the attention of Leonid Šejka, the founder of the Mediala art group and the creator of its theoretical framework. Šejka’s idea of a synthesis between the Renaissance tradition and modern thought had already earned him the status of a paragon in Ljuba’s eyes and Ljuba was all the more honoured when this charismatic figure, unrivalled in the artistic circles of the
time, promptly told him: “You are one of us”. The following year, Ljuba exhibited two paintings at Mediala’s third exhibition, held at the Grafički kolektiv gallery.
Their friendship, which germinated at that time, fuelled by a strong initiation
element, would end abruptly in 1970, with the death of Leonid Šejka. The presentation of the Urvater collection in 1959 was the first exhibition of Surrealist art in Belgrade. For the first
time, Ljuba was able to see the original works of Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, Rene Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Max Ernst, etc. He was greatly impressed by the originality and quality of individual
paintings but he could not find a single shared feature between the Surrealist
doctrine and his own artistic impulses. A surrealist overtone can only be found
in the personal writings from his youth, which he usually referred to as Temperatura dana (Day’s temperature).