The Drava Banovina was established in October 1929, some months after
King Aleksandar I Karađorđević proclaimed a new constitution and became a
dictator. The Banovina, part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, encompassed two
thirds of the Slovenian national territory. Like local governments before and
after the First World War, its authorities collected works of art for
decoration in their offices. Artists and experts around the provincial leaders,
especially around the Ban dr. Marko Natlačen (1886−1942), shaped the Banovina collection to be larger and more ambitious than
The exhibition presents 71 paintings, works on paper and sculptures. The
first two chapters focus on the art of realists, art group Vesna and Slovenian
Impressionists, especially socially conscious images by Hinko Smrekar
(1883−1942) and emphatic landscapes by Rihard Jakopič (1869−1943) and Matija
Through the lyrical works by younger artists such as Stane Kregar
(1905−1973), Ante Trstenjak (1894−1970) and France Gorše (1897−1986), the
exhibition presents the development of the collection and its ties to the
National Gallery and the Modern Gallery (Museum of Modern Arts, Ljubljana).
Monumental canvasses of Fran Tratnik (1881−1957), Tone Kralj (1900−1975) and Rajko Slapernik (1896−1975) highlight the push to historize visually the Slovenian past.
Aiming to develop historical painting and sculpture in Slovenia, the Banovina
organised four fine arts competitions between 1938 and 1940. The smaller three
competitions are represented by sculptures by Tone Kralj and Peter Loboda
(1894−1952). The exhibition is the first in decades to bring together the main
drafts submitted for the competition to decorate the grand corridor of the
Banovina palace, including works by Maksim Sedej (1909−1974), Albert Sirk
(1887−1947) and Marij Pregelj (1913−1967). On view
are also drafts and sketches by Gojmir Anton Kos (1896−1970), the winner of the
competition, together with his final monumental scenes of important events from
Slovenian history, which together span 20 metres in length.
The collection and
its formation posed questions that remain topical to this day: what is the
relationship between artists and the government? Who should be given priority:
museum pieces or contemporary creators? And, in the end, what role, if any,
should the fine arts take on during times of great changes and uncertainty?
Exhibition opening (video)
in cooperation with
Barbara Jaki, Andrej
of the project
treatment of exhibits
Tina Buh, Miha Pirnat
ml., Andreja Ravnikar, Simona Škorja, Martina Vuga, Narodna galerija
Nina Dorič Majdič,
Nada Madžarac, Moderna galerija
Vesna Obid, Marij
was supported by
kulturo Republike Slovenije
zavarovalnica d. d., Ljubljana
Radgonske gorice d.
exhibition was prepared with the help of Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana.
5 September 2019 – 5 January 2020
National Gallery of Slovenia