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Art in Slovenia

19th and Early 20th Century Sculpture

Alojzij Repič

(Vrhpolje, 1866 – Ljubljana, 1941)

Ivan Cankar
1920, marble, 56,5 x 25 x 16 cm
signed and dated left side: A. Repič / 1920

NG P 612, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana
Alojzij Repič owes his position in the history of sculpture in Slovenia above all to his work as a teacher at the Arts and Crafts School (later the Secondary Technical School) in Ljubljana and as the creator of realistic portraits of prominent figures from Slovene cultural life such as France Prešeren, Simon Gregorčič, Simon Jenko, Dragotin Kette, Fran Levstik, Josip Stritar, Ivan Tavčar, Jurij Šubic and other representatives of Slovene culture. Repič’s gallery of portrait sculptures of eminent Slovenes includes his bust of Ivan Cankar.

Repič created his portrait of the writer and dramatist Ivan Cankar, who was also a keen follower and sharp critic of the arts, in 1920, during his years as a teacher of modelling, carving and figurative sculpture at the Arts and Crafts School in Ljubljana (1905–1931). The work dates from two years after Cankar’s death and Repič probably made use of a photograph when working on the sculpture. He had undoubtedly also seen Cankar in person and was probably personally acquainted with him. Set on a roughly hewn base, the portrait is a bust with the head, complete with bushy moustache and hair, turned slightly to the right. Cankar’s face is given individuality by a pensive look that contrasts with a determined expression. The portrait is done in the academic realistic style to which Repič remained faithful until the end of his career.

Provenance: Donated: prof. dr. Riko Repič, artists son, Ljubljana, 18. 03. 1971
Exhibition: New Acquisitions of National Gallery 1965 - 1975, National Gallery of Ljubljana, 23 March - 2 Mai 1976
Lit: Kiparska razstava v obrtni šoli (Sculpture exibition in trade school), SN, št. 3, 4. 1. 1920, p.; bust of Ivan Cankar, Yugoslavia, IV, no. 34, 9. 2. 1921, p. 3; Plamen, I, št. 4, 1921, p. (repr.); -o-,Art exibition of artist Sterle and sculptor Repič, SN, no. 158, 13. 7. 1924, p. 3; Dbd (Karel DOBIDA), Alojzij Repič, ELU, 4, 1966, p. 83; Polonca Vrhunc, Rast slovenske galerijske zbirke, Delo, XIII, no. 275, 9. 10. 1971, p. 17, France DOBROVOLJC: Album of Cankar, Maribor 1972, p. 181 (picture. 497), 304 (with lit.).

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
Anonymous -
Stojan Batič (Trbovlje, 1925 − Ljubljana, 2015)
Mirsad Begić (*Glamoč, 1953)
Gvidon Birolla (Trieste, 1881 − Ljubljana, 1963)
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)
Rihard Jakopič (Ljubljana, 1869–1943)
Matija Jama (Ljubljana, 1872–1947)
Zdenko Kalin (Solkan, Gorizia, 1911 − Ljubljana, 1990)
Fran Klemenčič (Ljubljana, 1880−1961)
Ivana Kobilca (Ljubljana, 1861–1926)
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)
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)