Jakob Savinšek -100

Gallery Miha Maleš
When: from 09.11.2022, 18:00 to 09.05.2023, 18:00

In the year 2022, more precisely on February 4, 2022, 100 years have passed since the birth of the giant of Slovenian sculpture, Jakob Savinšek. However, the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth was not the only reason we decided to present the artist in our gallery. On the hundredth anniversary of the artist’s birth, we would like to remind the general public that the Miha Maleš gallery proudly houses fourteen of the artist’s works, mostly created in the 1950s. They were donated to the gallery shortly before her death by Savinšek’s life partner, the Slovenian actress and poet Mila Kačič (1912–2000). The young Savinšek met her in 1944 in the circle of the writer Ivan Mrak, and from then on, they remained companions on the path of life. After Savinšek’s untimely death, the works remained in her collection until 2000, when most of the artist’s oeuvre was donated to the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana, and part to the artist’s hometown Kamnik. In addition to the sculptures, the Miha Maleš Gallery also houses the artist’s self-portrait (1948) and documentary material.

Jakob Savinšek was born in Kamnik on February 4, 1922, where he attended the first four grades of elementary school. In 1929, the family moved to Ljubljana, where Jakob finished the eighth grade of high school with honours and enrolled in the medical faculty. His study path was interrupted by the war. In 1942, Jakob and his brother Jure were taken to the Gonars, italien concentration camp, from where they returned at the end of the same year. Jakob supported his family by tirelessly painting portraits and drawing floral still life’s, and continued to train and develop his drawing talent with the painter Rihard Jakopič. In the circle of the writer Ivan Mrak and his wife, the sculptor Karla Bulovec Mrak, he also received his first instructions on the path of sculpture. It was here that he met his life partner, actress and poet Milo Kačič.

In 1945, Jakob Savinšek enrolled in the first semester of the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, majoring in sculpture (he was taught by Boris and Zdenko Kalin, Frančišek Smerdu and Peter Loboda). He graduated in 1949 and his son David was born in the same year. In 1950, Savinšek rented the former studio of the sculptor Frančišek Smerdu. For the artist, the 1950s were years of travel, discovery of art and association with many actors of the Slovenian and wider European cultural space, and they also brought him his first solo exhibition in the Mali Galerija in Ljubljana, as well as his first commissions for sculptural monuments (Celje, Novo mesto, Ptuj, Trenta). This was followed by a larger solo exhibition in the Jakopič Pavilion and the Moša Pijade award, which enabled him to travel to England and France. This was followed by numerous trips to European cities and new orders for public monuments, including the monumental statues of Ivan Tavčar on Visoko in Poljanska dolina and Simon Gregorčič in Kobarid.

In 1961, despite physical and mental exhaustion, Jakob Savinšek went to a symposium in Kirchheim (Germany), where the artist’s journey ended due to a sudden death at the age of just thirty-nine.

The exhibition presents Savinšek’s sculptures from the collection of the Miha Maleš Gallery, and in addition to them, there are also works from the National and Modern Gallery and the Dolenjski muzej in Novo mesto. Along with the exhibition, a catalogue will also be published, the work of designer Vladimir Ristić with text by the exhibition’s curator, Saša Bučan.