Vlaho Bukovac and Alexandre Cabanel – a historic encounter of pupil and teacher

At the Art Pavilion in Zagreb

October 3, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Vlaho Bukovac (1855 – 1922) was the most distinguished Croatian painter at the turn of the 20th century. He is credited for the initiative to open the Art Pavilion in Zagreb with the main purpose to host large-scale exhibitions. So in celebration of the 120th anniversary of its foundation the Art Pavilion will showcase the works of Bukovac together with that of his teacher of painting in Paris at the École des beaux-arts, Alexandre Cabanel (1823 – 1889).

Following the earlier exhibition ‘Vlaho Bukovac in Paris’ held at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb (January 18, 2018 - March 11, 2018), the exhibition at the Art Pavilion will focus on presenting Cabanel’s influence on Bukovac’s painting featuring more than 140 works of art.

As a painter Cabanel is probably best known for ‘The Birth of Venus’ (1863, Musée d’Orsay in Paris), a notable example of 19th-century academic painting, bought by Napoleon III. Young Bukovac was eager to enrol in Cabanel’s class which had already been filled up. Thanks to the small painting he then executed titled ‘Hand’ (1877, Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik), Bukovac was nonetheless admitted. He studied at the École des beaux-arts from 1877 until 1880 and also exhibited with great success at the Paris Salon.

Cabanel’s paintings which have never before been exhibited in Croatia are lent by the Petit Palais - Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the Musée Inguimbertine, Carpentras, the Palais de Compiègne - Musée et domaine nationaux, Compiègne, the Musée Fabre, Montpellier (the Art Pavilion’s partner for the exhibition, since Montpellier was Cabanel’s hometown) and by the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. On the other hand, Bukovac’s works will come from Croatian museums (such as the Modern Gallery, Zagreb, the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik and Konavle County Museum - House Bukovac, Cavtat) as well as from museums from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. Furthermore, some of his rarely exhibited paintings come from private collections.

Exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with textual contribution made by Igor Zidić, art historian and expert in Bukovac’s work, Pierre Stépanoff, manager of the Collection of Paintings from the 14th to the 19th century in the Musée Fabre, and by Michel Hilaire, the Musée Fabre director and the leading French expert in the oeuvre of Alexandre Cabanel.