Women artists have been creating painting sand sculptures alongside their malecounterparts since the early 20th century.Yet, even though they helped create and shape the Ljubljana art scene in the first half of the century, art history initially ignored them, with only a few exceptions.This was due to a particular set of circumstances, which this exhibition aims to highlight and make more widely known. Women had long been denied an education and therefore also the opportunity to acquire a profession. As a result, they were unable tobe either independent or active in the public sphere.

It was not usual for girls to go to school and train for a profession before the 20th century. A girl from a bourgeois or noble family might have a few years of private tuition, but her life was focused on finding a suitable husband and having children. Girls were encouraged to take up painting only as a leisure pursuit, with no professional aspirations, and few of their paintings have survived. Against the backdrop of young women who received only a basic grounding in art, Henrika Langus became the first professional female painter in Carniola.

Resistance to anything unusual or that deviated from the rules was one of the main reasons why few female painters were able to succeed before 1900. Ivana Kobilca is an exception in the history of Slovenian art – alone heroine. Nevertheless, in 1889 she became the first ever Slovenian artist, male or female, to hold a solo exhibition of their paintings in Slovenia. More than 20 years would go by before there were exhibitions in Ljubljana in which Kobilca was joined by other female artists: Avgusta Šantel Sr., her daughters Henrika and Avgusta Šantel Jr., and Elza Kastl Obereigner.

Temporary exhibition
City Museum of Ljubljana, 12. 10. 2023–25. 2. 2024
Jakopič Gallery, 15. 11. 2023–25. 2. 2023

Curator of the exhibition: Barbara Savenc
Exhibited paintings and sculptures: Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana, City Museum of Ljubljana, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, National Gallery of Slovenia, National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Maribor Art Gallery