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Exhibitions and Projects
Revelations | 6 Oct. – 2 Nov. 2022

Revelations: Lojze Dolinar


Sculptor Lojze Dolinar (Ljubljana, 1893 – Ičići near Opatija, Croatia, 1970) mainly produced realistic monumental works, both free-standing and architectural sculpture. His rich oeuvre ranges stylistically from academic realism, symbolism, Art Nouveau and picturesque Impressionist and neo-Baroque idiom, all the way to Expressionist sculpture and programmatic Socialist Realism. His portraits, nudes and dynamic figure compositions, conceived as contrasts between smoothly and roughly rendered surfaces, are characterized by uneven body proportions. After studying under Professor Joseph Müllner at the Vienna academy and for a brief spell at the Munich academy, Lojze Dolinar subsequently lived in Ljubljana, i.e. between 1912 and 1917. In that period he produced portraits of a number of celebrities from Slovenian cultural life. During the war he was mobilized, whereas in 1920 he stayed in New York for a couple of months and went travelling through Italy and visited Paris. After having received his first major commission from Belgrade, he focused on architectural sculpture. In 1932 he moved to the Yugoslav capital, where in 1949 he was appointed full-time professor of sculpture at the local academy. He made a name for himself in Belgrade as a maker of numerous public commissions. 

However, the sculptor’s oeuvre also includes a number of small-scale, informal sculptures, to which the statuettes A Faun and Two Fauns belong. The two pieces come from the biggest private collection of works by Dolinar that was owned by the economist, publisher and art collector Hugo Uhliř, a Czech by birth. In his Ruda Manor (Loka near Zidani Most), Uhliř kept a rich collection of paintings and sculptures, mostly by native artists, the main part of which was destroyed during the Second World War, when the manor was burnt down.

Among the thirteen works by Lojze Dolinar that were exhibited at the 14th Art Exhibition in the Jakopič Pavilion, Ljubljana, there were also the two statuettes presently discussed, displayed shortly after they had been made. The lovely neo-Baroque figurines of standing rotund baby fauns date from before the year 1917, when the sculptor was mobilized and sent to Judenburg. There were no public commissions during the war, so the artist devoted himself to small-scale sculpture. Comparable among the works in the National Gallery’s collection is his Boy with a Bee figurine that was exhibited in 1918 at the 15th Art Exhibition in the Jakopič Pavilion, under the title In Fear. It shows a cute neo-Baroque chubby boy who has leant backwards in fear of being stung by a little bee which has just alighted on his right arm with which he is trying to protect his face.

Baroque-like plump statuettes of fleshy rounded fauns, putti, boys, etc. were the motifs highly popular with the sculptor. His primary aim was to turn the bodies of his figurines in a variety of poses to test his ability to present emotions, such as fear, joy, boastfulness, joviality, waggishness, etc. In the period of the decreased purchasing power, these small-scale figure sculptures with such well-liked motifs were widely bought by the public for the decoration of their homes.

Mateja Breščak

Presented: Thursday, 6 October 2022, 6 p.m

6 October–2 November 2022
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana