Collection Online
The traitor
oil on canvas
100.4 × 150.5 cm
inscribed in red paint l.r.: P. Joanowitch (a underlined, anowitch underlined)
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1890
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
Not on display

Exhibited, The New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, Dunedin, 1889–90; with H. Koekkoek & Sons (dealer), Melbourne, 1890; exhibited, Autumn Exhibition, H. Koekkoek & Sons, Melbourne, 1890, no. 126[1]; from where purchased for the NGV, 1890.

[1] See Catalogue of a highly important collection of high-class modern pictures : exhibited by H. Koekkoek & Sons of 72 Piccadilly, London, W., at the Koekkoek Gallery, 331 & 333 Collins Street, Melbourne, Melbourne: Mason, Firth & McCutcheon, Printers, 1890, no. 126, p. 26, accessed via State Library of Victoria, Purchased with Vaclav Brožik’s The defenestration, 1618 (La Defénestration, 1618) (p.316.1-1).

Exhibited: The New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, Dunedin, 1889–90; Autumn Exhibition, H. Koekkoek & Sons, Melbourne, 1890, no. 126

Of Serbian descent, Joanowitch was born in Vršac, a Serbian town which was then part of the Austrian Empire. He studied in Vienna and Munich until 1886 when he travelled to Paris, then to Egypt, Turkey and the Caucasus. He divided much of his career between Paris and Vienna, where he died in 1957. Joanowitch gained a reputation for his Orientalist subjects and portrayals of events of his homeland. The traitor, however, does not refer to a particular episode but is a warning to those intent on treachery. At times in his career, including the time of painting The traitor, the artist chose to sign his works and style his name in a western European manner for the French and Austrian art market rather than use the Serbian form of his name Jovanović. In 1906 this work was voted by the public as the ‘sixth-best’ painting in the NGV Collection.


Original, maker unknown


Location of stamp
Reverse of canvas
Richard Wurm/Munchen
ink stamp