The Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac was born on July 4, 1855 in Cavtat. Young Vlaho Bukovac spent his youth in New York where he went with his uncle Frano at only eleven years of age. Four years later, Bukovac returned from New York to Cavtat. At the age of fifteen he decided to earn his living as a sailor travelling to Istanbul-Liverpool-Odessa, a dangerous fall however shortcut his life at sea. Bukovac began the first wall paintings in his parents house during his convalescence and news spread through the town Cavtat that he was a talented painter.
After his recovery he travelled to Peru and later to San Francisco where he began his “amateur” career in painting, as well as his first lessons in art. He painted portraits by commission, and the positive critiques he received encouraged him to return to Europe to study painting formally. He returned to Cavtat to prepare for his artistic training by painting portraits of his family. Bukovac spent time in Paris (1877 – 1893) where he was accepted at the École des Beaux Arts in 1877. In 1878, he exhibited at one of the most important international exhibitions – the Paris Salon.
Bukovac worked in Zagreb in from 1893 – 1898, and became the central figure and founder of a Croatian art scene. He was the initiator of artistic events and, by influencing a generation of young artists, participated in the creation of the foundations of Modern Art in Croatia. In 1896, the majority of the artists that worked with Bukovac as their leader, exhibited in the Millennial Exhibition in Budapest. Upon the close of the Exhibition, the iron skeleton of the Croatian Pavilion of History and Art, which had been built specially for the Exhibition, was transported to Zagreb – where it served as the basis of Zagreb’s first Art Pavilion.
In the years 1898 – 1902 Bukovac remained in Cavtat, where he painted views of the landscapes of Cavtat and Dubrovnik, as well as portraits of friends and family. He painted a diorama, “The Tomb of Christ” for the parish church of St. Nikola. In 1902 he left for Vienna where he had a large solo exhibition.
The childhood home of Vlaho Bukovac is a typical urban house from the turn of the eighteenth century, located on one of the little streets that leads from the Cavtat shore towards Prijeko Street. After Bukovac’s death in 1922, his daughters transformed the atelier into an exhibition space, and the house with his paintings can still be visited today!
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November – April
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Sunday 14.00 – 17.00
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