Klermenc AHAS 4angl

Anton Ažbe and his copy after Jean Baptiste Greuze
In 1989 the National Gallery of Ljubljana acquired a small-size canvas, Portrait of a Girl, painted by Anton Ažbe (1862–1905), a Slovene artist who spent most of his life in Munich where he led a famous painting school from 1891 until his death (cf. Wege zur Moderne und die Ažbe-Schule in München, Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden 1988, exh. cat.). His oeuvre survives in a very small number of works, so this new acquisition is even more important, although it dates from his training years in Munich (it is signed and dated Ažbe 885) and although, as the present paper reveals, it is a copy after Jean Baptiste Greuze's Mädchenbildnis (Bayerisches Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, Inv. No. 1171). This French painting had been part of the collections of the Munich Alte Pinakothek, until it was transferred some fifteen years ago to the castle of Ansbach. The paper briefly compares the copy, which shows several weaknesses typical of a beginner, to the original and speculates on the possibility (indicated by some archival sources) that Ažbe could have sent this early oil, together with some excellent drawings, to prove his artistic skill when he was applying for a grant from local authorities in Slovenia.