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Exhibitions and Projects
Revelations | 3 Mar. – 6 Apr. 2022

Revelations: Sculptor and medallion maker Anton Sever (1886‒1965)

Donation to the National Gallery of Slovenia (1960‒1961)

In its issue on 2 April 1961, Delo, Slovenia's preeminent newspaper of its time, carried a public thanks by Karel Dobida, the principal of the National Gallery of Slovenia, who expressed gratitude to the medal maker and sculptor Anton Sever (1886–1965) for a sizable donation of his works, gifted to the Gallery between 1960 and 1961.

“He donated his best works that remained with him,” wrote principal Dobida. In addition to the collection of 217 plaster cast gems, 21 metal medallions and plaques by twelve international, older and contemporary masters, Sever donated 63 of own works − 15 bronze medallions and 11 plaques, 13 metal badges, 7 plaster casts, 10 matrixes and 7 smaller-scale recreations.  “This collection holds a number of Sever’s best art from early works up to today and represents a true run-through of the author’s entire life work of the last half-century.” 

Franc Andrej Šega (1711–1787) was the only obvious predecessor to Sever, who for decades remained the only Slovenian artist to dedicate fully to medallion-making. He depicted a series of well-known Slovenians, like the poet France Prešeren, in his debut piece from 1909, and the poet’s muse Julija Primic, whom he captured from the painting by Matevž Langus from 1835, and his own contemporaries, like painting and drawing artist Saša Šantel, sculptor Karla Bukovec Mrak, Bishop Anton Bonaventura Jeglič, surgeon Edo Šlajmer, which reflect the culture and history of the first half of the 20thcentury. His portraits reveal a knowledge of Antiquity, with the Renaissance serving as an obvious model. Besides realist and in-depth portraits, Sever also modelled designs for commemorative badges, shields, coasts of arms, emblems, pendants, rings and small sculpture. 

In the years 1900‒1904, Sever studied in the artisanal department of the Vocational School of Arts and Crafts in Ljubljana, where he was taught by the sculptor Alojz Gangl. After attending a state arts and craft school in Graz, he studied at the specialist school of engraving and medal making at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna between 1907 and 1912 with Professor Rudolf Marschall. After the First World War, he initially worked as a freelance artist, until in 1920, after passing the professor's examination, he accepted a job at the Ljubljana Technical Secondary School, where he taught until the end of August 1960. From 1939 onwards, he led the sculpture, engraving and ceramics department. In the years 1924–1941, he headed the Probuda art school in Ljubljana. During his forty years as a teacher, he helped to shape students' tastes and aesthetic standards and raised awareness about the true notion of beauty.

Sever's works are characterized by his mastery of technique, thoughtful composition and a good knowledge of previous art styles. His art offers a special aesthetic satisfaction since it embodies the perfection of forms and honours beauty as such.

Alenka Simončič

Presented: 3 March 2022, 6pm

3 March–6 April 2022
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana