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Exhibitions and Projects
4 October–7 November 2018

Revelations, October 2018

Lojze Dolinar, A Shepherd

Lojze Dolinar (Ljubljana, 19 April 1893 – Ičići near Opatija, 9 September 1970) was the most prominent Slovenian representative of realistic monument sculpture between the two wars, author of monumental free-standing and architectural sculptures. In terms of style, his rich oeuvre moved from academic realism, symbolism, Art Nouveau and picturesque Impressionist and neo-Baroque manner to Expressionist sculpture and programmatic Socialist Realism. He was intensely dedicated to monumental architectural and monument sculpture, within the framework of which he created big monument figures in the programme of Socialist Realism, in which he relied on Classical Antiquity and contemporary models. Portraits, nudes and dynamic figure compositions, based on the contrast between smooth and rough treatment of surface, are marked by disproportionate body proportions.

After finishing his training with sculptor Alojzij Repič at the Applied Arts School in Ljubljana, Lojze Dolinar continued his studies at the academies in Vienna (1910/1911) and Munich (1912/1913). During the First World War he was called up. In 1920, he left for New York for a few months, travelled Italy and went to Paris. After having received his first major commission from Belgrade he turned to architectural sculpture. In 1932 he moved to the Yugoslav capital where he was appointed full professor of sculpture at the academy in 1949. He won recognition in Belgrade as the author of a great number of public commissions. 

In 1928, thus a few years before he left for Belgrade, the sculptor executed a standing male figure which he named A Shepherd. The full-length, muscular but slim naked youth relaxedly leans against a prop in a strongly inclined position; he can be identified as a shepherd due to the indicated panpipes in his hands and his slightly open mouth indicating blowing into them.

Dolinar's genre figure with realistic features and its title does not indicate that it is a representation of Pan or a satyr. In searching for the balance of the figure the sculptor in the first place tested the very statics, which proceeds from the problems which the Hellenistic sculpture had already tried to solve. The modelling of the figure resembles the lively figure sculptures by Matisse from the first decade of the 20th century.

Dolinar’s statue was exhibited at the Exhibition of Slovenian Art (Razstava slovenske umetnosti) in Celje in 1931 and at the Art Exhibition (Umetnička izložba) in Belgrade in the same year. It was also included in the two retrospective exhibitions of Dolinar’s oeuvre in the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, in 1958 and 1996.

The statue was donated to the National Gallery of Slovenia in 2016. It comes from the legacy of architect Herman Hus (1896−1960). Dolinar decorated the Old Post Office building in Kranj (1929−1930), authored by Herman Hus, with relief caryatid figures, and the architect, in turn, later designed the sculptor’s house in Belgrade. Lojze Dolinar and Herman Hus were friends and collaborators, and the sculptor most likely gave the statue as a present to the architect in the thirties of the previous century.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the donor for the most valuable complement to the sculpture collection of the National Gallery of Slovenia.

Mateja Breščak

Translated by
Alenka Klemenc

4 October–7 November 2018
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana