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France Kralj - born in 1895 in a remote country milieu not far from Ljubljana - ib considered the leading figure of the Expressionist generation in the decades following the Firt World War. The period immediately after the war was of critical importance for Slovene culture. The new political formation in southeast Europe - the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes - seemed to hold the promise of a blossoming of national curtural identity, at least during the first years after the war . . .


France Kralj: Self-portrait while painting a fresco (1955)
Oil on canvas (108 x 125 cm)
Kralj’s collection, Kostanjevica on the River Krka

In addition to literature and language - which had always formed the basis of Slovene selfidentification - with the rise of zhe Impressionists at the beginning of the century (Jakopic, Grohar) the modernist movement began taking shape, peaking at the end of the first decade. The key role in bringing together the most vital artistic potentials was played by Rihard Jakopic, who in 1904 established the Sava Club in a kind of secession from the official Slovene Art Society whose members were oriented towards conservative art.

Kralj: Vision Having graduated from the School of Arts and Crafts in Ljubljana, France Kralj went on to work as an apprentice in a wood-carving in Klagenfurt, which led him a year later to study sculpture at the art academy in Vienna ...

Vision of St. Anthony (presentation: 601 x 566 pixels)

Kralj: Evening Kralj’s mastery of colour and work on woodcuts in the early fifties led him to discover a technique which proved ideally suited to him: monotype. As a consummate master of drawing, an all-round sculptor and a painter who mastered expression by means of colour, he found in monotype a medium in which he achieved a synthesis of his creativity in form and motif. Alongside younger contemporary artists, Kralj’s work considerably enriched the art of the first half on this century and contributed to the international reputation of art from this part of the world.

From "France Kralj - Personality and Creativity Put to the Test"
by Igor Kranjc
Published by Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana 1995

Left: Evening (presentation 574 x 464 pixels)