Thursday, November 29, 2012
Women by Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac 1855-1922
The Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac's (1855-1922) real name was Vlaho Fagioni. His father was Italian & mother was from Dubrovnik, Croatia. He began to exhibit his talent for drawing in his early childhood, but because of his family's poverty he could not continue his education in Croatia. The young Bukovac developed a strong desire to escape his limited career prospects of the Dalmatian coast. His uncle Frano had emigrated to America, & invited young Vlaho to join him in New York in 1867. But, unfortunately, his uncle died soon after they young teen's arrival. His aunt re-married almost immediately, placing Bukovac in the hands of a nasty step-uncle who wanted him out of the house. Bukovac was packed off to a grim home for young delinquents. He escaped that situation, when his talent for drawing attracted the attention of staff members, who soon realized that he should never have been sent there. He did, however, learn English throughout his difficult years in America.
In 1871, he returned to Dubrovnik & embarked as an apprentice on a merchant ship that sailed on regular line Istanbul-Odessa-Liverpool. His apprenticeship ended abruptly, when he fell through a tap-door on board ship & suffered severe concussion. Convalescing at home he painted the walls of his parents house with fanciful scenes of gardens & animals. These faithfully-restored murals can still be seen at the Bukovac House in Cavtat, Croatia.
He left home once again to study in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Alexandre Cabanel in 1877, & exhibited in the Paris Salon from 1878. He remained in Paris for the next 13 years, except for 2 periods of portraiture in England, in 1886 & 1888. Throughout his career he experimented with a variety of painting styles including the pointillist technique. On his return to Zagreb in 1893, he founded the Society of Croatian Artists. In 1903, he became a professor at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts.