Ivan Napotnik enrolled at the Arts and Crafts School in Ljubljana in 1903. Among his teachers there was the sculptor Alojzij Repič. In 1906 he left for Vienna, where he initially found employment as an assistant to Franz Zelezny, a master of wood sculpture. Two years later he was admitted to the Vienna Academy, where he studied under Josef Müllner and Hans Bitterlich, later completing a specialisation under Edmund von Hellmer in 1915. He spent the period between the wars in his native village of Zavodnje nad Šoštanjem in northern Slovenia, dividing his time between farming and sculpting. Over time wood became his preferred (and only) sculptural material.
The standing female nude entitled Awakening (Morning) dates from around 1919. In stylistic terms, the work is based on the Art Nouveau tradition, particularly noticeable in the elements on the base, while the generously proportioned, realistically designed female figure, her raised right arm partially concealing her face, is somewhat reminiscent of baroque sculpture.