Blog 90 08/12/2019 Croatian Painter, Vhaho Bukovac

Posted in on 7 December, 2019 in News

Croatian Painter, Vhaho Bukovac


As most of you who know me, know that I am always on the lookout for new artists. Vlaho Bukovac was a Croatian painter I came across just recently. His work is diverse as he pursued his career in a variety of places and his style changed greatly over the course of his career. He is probably best known for his 1887 nude Une Fleur (A Flower), which he painted during his French period and which received attention in various reviews and publications during his lifetime.

Une Fleur

La Grand Iza 1882

Bukovac was born Biagio Faggioni in 1855 in the Croatian town of Cavtat, south of Dubrovnik. His father was an Italian from Genoa, his mother, Croatian. He began his artistic education in Paris where he was sent by his patron, Orsat “Medo” Pucić, a writer from Ragusa and an important member of the Catholic Serb movement.

Orsat “Medo” Pucić

His sketches impressed his professor, Alexandre Cabanel, an acclaimed painter of the belle époque French painting and a well known portrait painter in his own right, and by all accounts was Napoleon III’’s preferred painter, and he became a student at the prestigious  École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 

Alexandre Cabanel, Self-Portrait

Bukovac’s fashionable paintings achieved great success at the Paris Salon, and his many travels, from the Black Sea region to Peru, led him to discover a range of diverse themes.

Gundulic’s Dream 1894

From the mid 1880’s until the outbreak of WWI, he regularly visited England, where many of his most popular pictures were sold by the London art dealers, Vickers Bros. They included his large religious piece, Suffer the Little Children to Come to Me, and three nude subjects, The White SlavePotiphar’s Wife and Adam and Eve. Most likely his strong Catholic upbringing led him to paint these religious themes. In Britain he began to paint portraits of Vicars’s clients, including his best patrons, Samson Fox of Harrogate and Richard LeDoux of Liverpool. Samson Fox, was an engineer, industrialist, and philanthropist. He was elected Mayor of Harrogate in Yorkshire and donated a substantial amount of money to of the building the Royal College of Music in London.

Samson Fox

It was Fox who bought Suffer the Little Children to Come to Me and it was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1888. It was later presented to St Robert’s church in Harrogate. And although it has nothing to do with Bukovac, it’s interesting to note that quite a few of Fox’s descendants have followed his artistic interests as several are illustrious actors and film and theatre producers, Edward Fox OBE being just one of them.

From 1893-97, Bukovac became an important representative of the fine arts in Zagreb, Croatia. His spirit of French art, most evident in his landscapes, was soon replaced by a lively, lighter palette of colours in a freer, impressionist style.

The Minstrel

Portrait of Katarina Bibica 1891


In Zagreb, he became the leader at many important cultural and artistic events and helped in the construction of the Art Pavilion, and organized the first artistic exhibition in the Academy Palace in 1893. Due to conflict with fellow Croatian painter, art historian, curator and politician, Izidor (Iso) Kršnjavi, he withdrew to his hometown Cavtat, where he stayed from 1898 to 1902.

Izidor (Iso) Kršnjavi, by Bukovac

In 1892 Vlaho Bukovac married the young Jelica Pitarević from Dubrovnik, which whom he had four children, his son Ago and daughters, Ivanka, Jelica and Marija.

Jelica a la Gainsborough 1916

In 1903, he moved to Prague where he was appointed associate professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. His style changed again and he introduced pointillism to the Academy.

Montenegrin Woman

In Zagreb, he is best known as the painter of the sumptuous curtain in the Croatian National theatre, “Croatian National Revival”. Bukovac died in Prague in 1922. His wife also died in the same year.

The Curtain at the Croatian National Theatre.

New Release 

The Poseidon Network


I am proud to announce that The Carpet Weaver of Uşak has been awarded the BRONZE Medal for The Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fiction Modern Era Book of the Year Award.