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I met painter Dejan Bogdanovic in a nightclub he was running in Florence, Italy, nearly ten years ago. Dressed in a vintage leather vest and the owner of one of the most charming laughs I'd ever heard, I was intrigued by him straight away. Born in Sarajevo as the son of an international chess champion, Dejan was catapulted into the intellectual art world at a young age and had painted his first still life series by the time he was five-years-old.

After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Dejan moved to Italy where he studied at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence and continued painting until the civil war in his home country of Yugoslavia became too intense for him to focus. During this time Dejan took up an interest in gastronomy and opened a cafe which he ran until he returned to painting in 1999.

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The perfect fit for displaying his works, Dejan created the first fusion restaurant in Florence (aptly named Picasso) several years back, which married his art to his love for food. His art adorning the walls, Picasso became one of Florence's trendiest places to eat and hang out late night, where an eclectic group of locals and foreigners could be found drinking his unique collection of red wine and beer.

Using the traditional medium of oil on canvas, Dejan has always played with various colors and artistic expressions, but like Picasso, has recently entered a blue period as he continues to experiment with the female form.

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You can find Dejan's works on permanent display at Golden View Restaurant in Florence while he prepares for his next exhibition. His favorite wines to date are Ornellaia 1998, Amarone Del Forno Romano 1997, and Sassicaia 1998.

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