Artists in the Collection

Vlaho Bukovac
(Cavtat, 4 July 1855 – Prague, 23 April 1922)


A painter with an unusual biography, Vlaho Bukovac, discovered his talent very early, but it was only in 1876 and after many wanderings and adventures, that his artistic gift was noticed in Dubrovnik by the poet, Medo Pucić. The painter changed his surname Fagioni into Bukovac and went to Paris, where his academic education in the École Nationale
Supérieure des Beaux-Arts with Alexandre Cabanel opened to him the doors of Salons. Starting from 1872 he first exhibited paintings with themes from Montenegrin life inspired by the spirit of the time and the work of the painter Jaroslav Čermák; he also exhibited nudes and portraits. Along with landscapes painted en plein‑air, these will remain
his favorite and most popular subjects. Owing to his good academic education, as well as the popularity
brought to him by the gold medal he won at the 1882 Paris Salon for the painting entitled La Grande Iza, he soon opened his own studio in Paris, but spent time in Great Britain as well due to his many commissions. He painted portraits in Dalmatian towns, then in Zagreb and Vienna, and at the Montenegrin and Serbian Courts. His move
to Zagreb (1894–1898) enhanced the city’s artistic life: he founded the Association of Croatian Artists
and initiated the construction of the Art Pavilion; by working en plein-air he had an influence on the younger generation of painters. His large-scale paintings with rich and marked bright colours influenced the development of the “colourful” school of painting in Zagreb. Between 1898 and 1902, he resided in Cavtat, where he painted in the spirit
of the Secession. His exhibition in Vienna in 1903 brought him new fame, and he became a professor at the Prague Academy; many painters from southern Slavic countries studied with him. As a typical representative of academic realism and an advocate of “beautified world” painting in the Prague period, intrigued by the effect of light on the female
complexion and its sophisticated nuances, Bukovac painted large-scale nudes, often situated in the exterior,
in a refined colour scheme which he applied in a pointillist manner. He belonged to a similar artistic orientation as Paja Jovanović, to an international school at the turn of the 20th century.