This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Jože Plečnik, Slovenia's greatest architect. Since his birth, the mainstream of European architecture has passed through several stylistic orientations, following an approximate sequence from historicism, Art Nouveau (or Sezessionstil), neoclassicism, expressionism and functionalism to the postmodern, before eventually merging into a kind of new internationalism without the characteristic attributes of the earlier functionalism. This has meant that critics have always tended to view Plečnik's work through the stylistic lens of their own period and have generally been incapable of formulating an objective judgement of its worth.
This anniversary is an opportunity to draw attention to the no less significant spiritual dimension of Plečnik's art, with which perhaps only Prešeren's poetry could be considered to be on a par. At a time when we have ceded a part of our sovereignty to the community of European nations, culture is becoming a decisive factor in our national self-awareness.
1872: 23 January: Jože Plečnik is born, the fourth child of carpenter Andrej Plečnik and his wife Helena.
1878–1882: attends elementary school in Ljubljana.
1885–1888: works in his father's workshop and attends trade school in Ljubljana.
1888–1892: attends trade school in Graz on a state scholarship while also studying drawing under Leopold Theyer.
1892–1894: employed to draw furniture for the J. W. Müller company in Vienna.
1894: the architect Otto Wagner offers him a place at his seminar after seeing some of his drawings. Because of his inadequate technical knowledge, Plečnik spends the first year working in Wagner's studio.
1895–1898: attends Wagner's architecture seminar at the Vienna Academy of Arts
1897: together with the sculptor O. Schimkowitz, produces a design for the Guttenberg memorial in Vienna, for which the two win first prize.
1898: his degree project, a town-planning solution for the spa resort of Schreveningen near The Hague, earns him a travel scholarship to Rome.
1898: designs the exhibition of the Lower Austria Arts and Crafts Association at the jubilee exhibition in the Vienna Prater.
1898–1899: travels through Italy and also makes a brief visit to France.
1899–1900: on his return spends a few months working in Wagner's studio on the Vienna Stadtbahn project.
1900–1911: freelance architect in Vienna.
1904: wins a gold medal for his salon at the World's Fair in St Louis, Missouri (USA).
1911–1921: at the invitation of his friend Jan Kotěra accepts a position as teacher of decorative arts at the School of Arts and Crafts in Prague; devotes himself entirely to teaching.
1912–1913: the assembly of professors of the Vienna Academy of Arts propose him as Wagner's successor three times in a row, but the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, fails to confirm his professorship.
1921–1956: professor in the architecture department of the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Engineering; at the same time, assisted by the director of the City Building Office, M. Prelovšek, he works intensively on the remodelling of Ljubljana.
1920: the president of Czechoslovakia, T. G. Masaryk, appoints him the architect of Prague Castle.
1920–1934: while still a professor in Ljubljana he remodels Prague Castle and its grounds.
1957: 7 January: Jože Plečnik dies at his home in Ljubljana.
Exhibition and text
Barbara Jaki, Marja Lorenčak, Eva Prelovšek, Jože Raspet
Exhibition supported by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
7 January to 25 February 2007
The exhibiton is prolonged until April 15th 2007!