Prolific painter France Slana dies

Škofja Loka – One of Slovenia’s most prolific painters France Slana has died, aged 95, several media reported on Monday. He was most known for his oil paintings and watercolours, but also for his prints, painted ceramics and tapestries. He was one of the 1964 recipients of the Prešeren Fund Prize.

Slana was a painter of classical themes as his work is centred around landscape, figurative and still-life painting.

He often depicted ethnology-related motifs such as typical Slovenian hayracks, barns, mills, wine cellars, interiors of old inns and attic rooms. He is also well known for his paintings of bouquets, roosters, cats and fish.

According to art historian Milojka Kline, he presented glimpses of the everyday life of the common man and the characteristics of their worlds in various moods, spanning from the poetic, imbued with nostalgia, to the effective expressiveness conveyed by the painter’s easily recognisable stylisation.

Born in the village Bodislavci in the north-east of Slovenia in 1926, he started painting actively during the Second World War as a member of the Slovenian anti-Nazi resistance movement. In 1949, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, and before that, he took a painting course with acclaimed illustrator Hinko Smrekar, considered one of the pioneers of Slovenian graphic art.

He was well-travelled for the time, having visited France, Norway, Egypt and the US. He had his first solo exhibition in 1953, and afterwards the number of solo shows at home and abroad topped 150.

Slana received the Prešeren Fund Prize in 1964 for a series of works on a quake-stricken Macedonian capital, Skopje, which was ruined by an earthquake in 1963.

In 2013, he released an extensive publication on his work.