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Exhibitions and Projects
Revelations | 5. 11.–2. 12. 2020

Revelations, November 2020

Ivana Kobilca and Landscape Painting

Ivana Kobilca (1861–1926) was not a landscape painter. In her works, the nature is mostly part of the backdrop and background of a figure. Kobilca’s pure landscapes are rare and despite loose brushwork, fresh colours and framing that speak of the painter’s familiarity of contemporary art currents, they remain bound to Realism.

Kobilca constantly returned to paragons she studied in Munich and Paris when she was in her 20s and early 30s. She painted her most ambitious works incorporating nature between 1889 and 1893. Paintings From the Children’s World, By the Well and Summer, all dated to 1889, showcase the influence of Munich contemporary masters on view at the Glaspalast. Children in Grass and Under a Pergola meanwhile exhibit the influences of Parisian Salons and especially the neighbouring Barbizon, which was in Kobilca’s time there a completely established art colony. On occasion, Kobilca also merged landscape and still life, especially when working at the Kolovec Manison where she stayed with the Stare family.

Kobilca belongs to the second generation of Slovenian Realists, together with Anton Ažbe, Jožef Petkovšek and Ferdo Vesel. Of the four, only Vesel made numerous landscapes, also because he outlived the rest by decades. His works parallel the Impressionist pictures in their spontaneity and the treatment of light, while Kobilca’s landscapes mostly follow in the path of the Šubic brothers. Hence, her landscapes are also small Realist studies of terrain and weather, with exceptions like the sketch of Sarajevo’s cityscape.

Questions regarding Kobilca’s landscapes are today also relevant for the art market, where they are in demand due to the artist’s fame and not because of their intrinsic quality. Among Kobilca’s students there were several amateur landscape painters, for example Rita Passini (1882–1976) in Sarajevo and Margarete and Hanni Schnock in Berlin. In Sarajevo, Kobilca socialized with a group of pleinairist artists, who exchanged works amongst themselves. Together with the lack of primary sources and of referential Kobilca’s landscapes, which often vary in quality, this results in a difficult and thankless task of determining true authorship of extant landscapes.

Michel Mohor

5. November–2. December 2020
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana