Study of Kobilca's famous painting Kofetarica on sale

Ljubljana, 28 May - A study of Ivana Kobilca's well-known painting Kofetarica (Coffeemadam) has been put on sale by a private collector through the Koper Ex Arte gallery. The study does not bear a signature but a number of experts have confirmed that the work does indeed belong to the most prominent Slovenian female painter.

Coffeemadam by Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926).
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The work was put on display at the gallery last Friday and will be showcased in the coastal town of Koper until the middle of June. In the second half of the month, the study will move to the Ljubljana Ex Arte gallery, reports the newspaper Delo.

The gallery said that it had already received a number of serious bids. It is not interested in selling the study to national galleries or companies since that usually results in works disappearing from the art market.

"The study was made in 1888 and was owned by the painter and her heirs for a hundred years. The heirs then sold it to a rich Slovenian collector who later sold it to another one and so the work has been put on sale for the third time in 30 years," said Boris Žbona of the gallery.

Asked about the price, Žbona said that the study was in a good condition and could be sold above the asking price of EUR 100,000 if the "country's national pride plays a part in the sale".

One of the experts has described the 27x20cm study as an oil board painting and bearing no signature. On its reverse, there are a couple of seals of a board manufacturer and salesman from Munich, including a notation that reads 70 German marks, which was probably the price of the board in 1888.

Kobilca was particularly fond of Kofetarica and did not wish to sell it, leaving it to her niece after her death.

Barbara Jaki, the head of the National Gallery in Ljubljana, told the newspaper that the gallery would not bid for the painting due to its asking price, but added that such work was an important part of the country's cultural heritage.

© STA, 2019