Posted by: Valentino Radman | January 10, 2010

Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922), Croatian master painter

Vlaho Bukovac was one of the most important Croatian turn of the century artist . He won numerous awards and recognitions and staged successful exhibitions at several Paris Salons, the first Vienna Secession exhibition, the second and fourth Venice Biennale and the Paris World Exposition in 1900.
Three months ago Gemeentemuseum (in Den Haag, Holland) staged a major retrospective exhibition “Vlaho Bukovac- A Cosmopolitan Croatian”, which is closing today:
Bukovac’s life reads like a boy’s adventure story. He showed inclination to drawing in his early childhood, but because of his family’s poverty he could not continue his education. At the age of eleven his uncle took him to the United States, where he spent four hard years. His uncle soon died. In 1871, he returned to Dubrovnik and embarked as an apprentice on a merchant ship that sailed on regular line Istanbul-Odessa-Liverpool.
In 1873 he went to Latin America, where he worked as a letter drawer in a coach factory in Peru. Three years later he returned to Cavtat. He found a sponsor in the person of Medo Pucic, a poet who recommended him to the Archbishop J.J. Strossmayer, a very famous and influential Croatian at that time. Thanks to Strossmayer’s financial support and his own savings he made it to Paris in 1877, where he entered the École des Beaux Arts. His teacher was famous Alexandre Cabanel.
Though Bukovac’s artistic roots were grounded in Academism, he was also inspired by the modern Impressionists. That influence can be seen in the expressive touch and Pointillist technique he gradually adopted and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
Most of these images are reproductions from books, and though they look correct, they do not do justice to master’s works.

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