Ivan Vavpotič, Self-portrait, 1940, oil on canvas
Ivan Vavpotič was born in Kamnik on February 21, 1877. From 1898 to 1905, he studied at the Prague Academy, one year at the Louvre School in Paris and a half-year in Vienna. Between 1906 and 1910, he teached in school in Idrija, during the First World War he painted the battlefields, and in 1927, he worked for a two-year time in Ljubljana as a scenographer. Since 1929 he has been in a liberal profession. He painted a series of representative portraits of important townspeople and artists and a bucket of sensuous landscapes. He illustrated the works by Slovene writers Josip Jurčič, Fran Detela, Fran Milčinski and the poetry collection by Igo Gruden. As an author of posters, advertisements, postcards, the first Yugoslavian stamps and stage scenes, he relaxed the realistic and secessionist tradition with the echoes of modern directions. He died on January 11, 1943 in Ljubljana.
Vavpotič often dealt with his image. Many self-portraits are preserved, but in the photograph, we see one of the last paintings painted by the artist in the later period. For Vavpotič a characteristic realistic portrait speaks of the artist’s external appearance, but at the same time, through his eyes, we also perceive a person, his inner feelings, which he shows as a somewhat concerned, perhaps even bitten, unfulfilled man. From his opus, it is clear that mostly in his works, especially in portraits, he adapted to the taste of subscribers and thus failed to develop his creativity to the extent that he himself desired. Known as an exceptional connoisseur of art and contemporary artistic trends, even those who often celebrated the young names of Slovenian art of their time in excellent executives through exhibitions, through their own creative work, show above all more artistic knowledge than the advanced artistic expression, that is, what we have more familiar from many of his writings and controversies that he published in the newspaper.