Water Lilies (study), 1898
oil on canvas
27. 2 x 45. 5 cm
Vlaho Bukovac (1855–1922) is considered to be among the pioneers of Modern Art in Croatia. This Parisian student had an international career (France, England, USA, Vienna, the Czech Republic) and received awards at the Paris Salon, while his works are kept in private collections around the world. Bukovac’s painting style ranges from Academic Realism to the Colourful School of Zagreb period and the distinctive leaning towards Symbolism in the portraits and nudes executed in the last twenty years of his life when he worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
Bukovac’s study with the Monet-like motif of the water lilies from 1898 belongs to pleinairist painting, a direct and spontaneous study of motifs in plein air and bright sunlight. It was painted in the Botanical Garden in Zagreb during Bukovac’s work with students. This type of impressionist painting officially came onto the Croatian scene after the 1898 Croatian Salon exhibition, in parallel with the examples of Symbolism.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum counsellor at the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023