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Art in Slovenia

19th and Early 20th Century Sculpture

Zdenko Kalin

(Solkan, Gorizia, 1911 − Ljubljana, 1990)

Female Nude
bronze, 177 x 59 x 49 cm
sign. L. na podstavku KIPAR ZDENKO

NG P 814, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana

Plastically simplified forms abandoning detail, realistic body masses with accurate proportions and adoption of French innovations were characteristic of works by members of the art group Neodvisni (the Independents), founded in 1937. In addition to brother Boris Kalin and Frančišek Smerdu, the sculpture section of the Independents included Zdenko Kalin. All three were the first appointed professors at the newly founded Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts.

Zdenko Kalin was fascinated by the work of Aristide Maillol, a master of female nudes. Kalin’s Female Nude, a classical and volumetric sculpture with a Maillol-inspired sensibility, represents a link to the pre-war sculpture of plastic realism, which strives for formal purity by reducing detail. The full-figured nude with hands folded behind her back combines traditional and Modernist elements. The vibrant and mature female body stands in a relaxed posture, its surface is smoothed and the face individualised.

The identical cast of the sculpture in front of the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana is more often mentioned in the literature.



The Third Renaissance in Slovenia
The twentieth century was the third period in history that elevated Ljubljana to an active art centre on the Slovenian ethnic territory. This era is marked by artistic trends that originated in the world art centres, while only rarely symptoms of local tradition and continuity can be traced. Although the Expressionists are usually ranked as belonging to the historical avant-garde, it is necessary to distinguish within their group between continuity and radicalism. The long shadow of Art Nouveau – particularly in the expressionist oeuvres of the brothers Kralj, France and Tone, and some other representatives of this generation who studied in Prague – extends via the expressive pre-WW1 paintings by Fran Tratnik all the way from its hard core with Gustav Klimt and the Wiener Werkstätte of the turn of the century. The artists’ updated formal methods frequently carry on the patterns of allegorical interpretation. Not even Stane Kregar is completely free from it in his Surrealist manner which he adopted in Prague. The dominant line is paralleled by a more promising colour intimism of the older generation with the relationship between the Flowers, Fruit and Jug by Alexey Jawlensky and The Sava by Jakopič. 

Colour realism of the 1930s prevailed in the generation or two that came from the Zagreb academy (France Mihelič, Maksim Sedej, early Zoran Mušič, and Gabriel Stupica), and their counterpart Gojmir Anton Kos is an outstanding representative of pure painting which likewise drew on the orthodox premises of Courbet’s and Manet’s realism. Among the sculptors, Frančišek Smerdu belongs to this generation. These representatives, who with authority and teaching zeal settled in the core of the newly established Ljubljana academy, helped to spread modernist trends in the second half of the century, which were all to the end of the 1970s still influenced by the authority of Paris as the principal art centre. Younger artists, such as Marij Pregelj among painters and Jakob Savinšek, Drago Tršar and Stojan Batič among sculptors, belong to this eminent company. Representatives of Italian painting of the 1930s, such as Gino Severini, Giorgio Morandi and Filippo de Pisis, demonstrate that Slovenian art in this century surpassed the limits of regional ambitions as well as achievements.
OwnerBirth - death
Stojan Batič (Trbovlje, 1925 − Ljubljana, 2015)
Mirsad Begić (*Glamoč, 1953)
Renato Birolli (Verona, 1907 – Milan, 1959)
Massimo Campigli (Berlin, 1895 – Saint-Tropez, 1971)
Filippo De Pisis (Ferrara, 1896 – Milan, 1956)
Lojze Dolinar (Ljubljana, 1893 − Ičići, Opatija, 1970)
France Gorše (Zamostec, Sodražica, 1897 − Golnik, 1986)
Zdenko Kalin (Solkan, Gorizia, 1911 − Ljubljana, 1990)
Fran Klemenčič (Ljubljana, 1880−1961)
Gojmir Anton Kos (Gorizia, 1896 − Ljubljana, 1970)
Tone Kralj (Zagorica, Dobrepolje, 1900 − Ljubljana, 1975)
France Kralj (Zagorica, Dobrepolje, 1895 – Ljubljana, 1960)
Stane Kregar (Zapuže, 1905 − Ljubljana, 1973)
Peter Loboda (Domžale, 1894 − Ljubljana, 1952)
Filip Andreievich Maliavine (Orenburg, 1869 – Nice, 1940)
France Mihelič (Virmaše, Škofja Loka, 1907 − Ljubljana, 1998)
Giorgio Morandi (Bologna, 1890–1964)
Zoran Mušič (Bukovica near Gorizia, 1909 – Venice, 2005)
Ivan Napotnik (Zavodnje, Šoštanj, 1888 − Šoštanj, 1960)
Cipriano Efisio Oppo (Rome, 1891–1962)
Veno Pilon (Ajdovščina, 1896−1970)
Jože Plečnik (Ljubljana, 1872−1957)
Marij Pregelj (Kranj, 1913 − Ljubljana, 1967)
Alojzij Repič (Vrhpolje, 1866 – Ljubljana, 1941)
Janko Samsa (Žirje, Sežana)
Jakob Savinšek (Kamnik, 1922 − Kirchheim, 1961)
Maksim Sedej (Dobračeva, Žiri, 1909 − Ljubljana, 1974)
Gino Severini (Cortona, 1883 – Paris, 1966)
Frančišek Smerdu (Postojna, 1908 − Ljubljana, 1964)
Matej Sternen (Verd, 1870 – Ljubljana, 1949)
Gabrijel Stupica (Dražgoše, 1913 – Ljubljana, 1990)
Saša Šantel (Gorizia, 1883 − Ljubljana, 1945)
Fran Tratnik (Potok, Nazarje, 1881 − Ljubljana, 1957)
Drago Tršar (*Planina, Rakek, 1927)
Ivan Vavpotič (Kamnik, 1877 – Ljubljana, 1943)
Alexej von Jawlensky (Torzhok, 1864 – Wiesbaden, 1941)