Ivana Kobilca, by far the most distinguished Slovene paintress was born December 20th, 1861. and died December 4th, 1926. in Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia. She lived in various European cities like Vienna, Munich and Paris, Sarajevo and Berlin. She belonged to the generation of Slovene realist painters who created their best works of art in the Eighties of the 19th century. Artistic ideals, her friends and acquaintances brought her into contact with many other European painters. She visited Vienna just in time to come to know the citys coryphee of that time, Hans Makart; in Munich where Franz Lenbach was famous she made friends with the later master of graphics Käthe Kollwitz; in Paris she was among the admirers of the old Puvis de Chavannes. Beside these she knew many other personalities of the Slovene and Yugoslav cultural life of that time . . .
. . . Ivana Kobilca, later member of Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, was born in a modest provincial family. She graduated from the high school and then took lessons with the unsignificant paintress Ida Künl. She continued her studies in Vienna (1879 - 1880) where she was copying the paintings at the gallery of the Academy of Arts . . .
. . . her next stage had been Munich. She perfected her art as a quite independent student of Alois Erdtelt . . .
In 1888 she participated for the first time in a public exhibition by sending two of her pictures to the Künstlerhaus in Vienna. At the next exhibition in the Glaspalast in Munich her talents were praised by the best known German critic of that time Richard Muther ...
. . . Since then her paintings made a long way to various European exhibitions: to Paris, Berlin, Prague. Leipzig, Basel, Dresden, Budapest, Ratisbon etc. Her arrival to Paris was crowned with success. Together with the Swiss Ferdinand Hodler and the Czech Vojtech Hynais she was given the membership of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts . . .
Then she returned to Ljubljana. In her native town she could not hold out for long. She spent a few months in Florence (1894), some years later (1897) she moved to Sarajevo. In this oriental environment she lived till 1905. This long stay in Sarajevo . . . was followed by a short visit to Ljubljana. Soon the paintress accepted the invitation of her old friends and moved to Berlin (1906) leaving it only at the beginning of the First World War.
Portrait of sister Fani, oil on canvas (1889)
More than two hundred oil paintings, various illustrations and a few drawings have been left by Ivana Kobilca . . . The year 1889, the year of her first independent exhibition is the mile stone in her career; then she left the brownish "gallery tone" and her first expressively pleinairstic paintings were created . . .
One of her top achievements as regards painting qualities and tender feelings of the motive, is the so called "Parisian Fruitseller". With her painting "The Children in the Grass" she was closest to those impressionistic tendencies which later on were so consistantly realized by the younger generation of "the Great Four" of Slovene impressionism, Jakopic, Grohar, Jama, Sternen.