Painter Elda Piščanec’s work on show at National Gallery

Ljubljana – A comprehensive exhibition on Trieste-born painter Elda Piščanec (1897-1967) is being launched at the National Gallery in Ljubljana later on Wednesday, showing 99 of her paintings, drawings and prints as well as multimedia featuring her monumental sacral works.

Running until 18 September, the exhibition is the National Gallery’s contribution to help bring women artists and the art between the two world wars into focus. It was curated by Sara Müller.

The gallery notes that Piščanec was one of the women artists who had to work hard to carve a space for themselves in the predominantly male world of art.

Born in Trieste in 1897, Piščanec moved to Ljubljana with her family as a little girl. She first studied painting with Rihard Jakopič, a leading Slovenian Impressionist painter, and later with Ivan Tabaković in Zagreb.

From 1925 to 1929, she studied painting and printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence under the guide of the well-known painters Felice Carena and Celestino Celestini, whose influence can be seen in her work.

Before returning to Florence to complete her degree, she studied religious painting in Paris at the private schools of the painters Maurice Denis and Georges Desvallières and André Lhote introduced her to cubism. Having earned her degree, she returned to Slovenia.

Piščanec devoted herself to realism. She mainly painted landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits and religious motifs; she worked in oils, watercolours, drawing, printmaking, mural painting and, to a lesser extent, clay modelling and crafts.

She passionately pursued her career as an artist but despite continuous training she failed to establish herself to a point that her talent and ambition would merit. Her promising beginnings were cut short by the Second World War.

The post-war period was not in her favour and she also earned a living as a teacher. She also got trained in restoration at the National Gallery. She died in solitude at her estate near Dobrna in 1967.

Apart from the National Gallery the works displayed come from the Maribor Art Gallery and private collections.