In 1917 the sculptor Lojze Dolinar was called up to the army and sent to Judenburg. In 1920 he travelled to New York, remaining there for some months before returning to Ljubljana. He became a member of Slovenia’s National Gallery Society in 1920 and his works were among the gallery’s first acquisitions and included in the National Gallery’s inaugural hanging. He quickly found his place in Ljubljana society and produced portraits of prominent figures from Slovene cultural life in his studio.
In 1919 Dolinar exhibited (and sold) his Portrait of Rezika Thaler at the XVI Art Exhibition in Jakopič’s Art Pavilion. Rezika Thaler (1888–1984) was an opera and operetta singer, a soprano who sang more than 30 leading operatic roles in Ljubljana, Trieste, Graz and the Czech lands. Standing Female Figure is Dolinar’s second depiction of Rezika Thaler. He depicted her as a full-length standing figure in a theatrical pose and wearing a long gown. She represents the figure of Thaïs, an operatic role that Thaler sang in 1921. Thaïs is also the subtitle of the work. The opera is inspired by an 1890 novel based on events in the life of Saint Thaïs of Egypt (4th century). According to legend, Thaïs was an Egyptian courtesan who, after being converted by a monk named Paphnutius, lived in a convent and did penance for her sins.