There is a statue of Rihard Jakopič (by Bojan Kunaver) marking the spot of the very first Slovenian exhibition space – the Jakopič pavilion. Not to be confused with the Jakopič Gallery on Aškerčeva street, where there is another Jakopič bust by Janez Boljka (although I recommend you go there as well), this one is in close proximity to the Jakopič promenade.
Now, you’re probably anxiously waiting for me to explain who this Jakopič dude is. This Jakopič dude is one of the four most renowned Slovenian impressionists, but definitely the best one when it came to entrepreneurship. The pavilion I started with wasn’t just named after him – it was his. He financed it, he ran it, he curated exhibitions in it, he exhibited in it, he sold art in it AND he held art classes in it. Not sure how well you know the art world, but things don’t run this way nowadays. It’s nearly impossible (also a bit immoral) to be an artist, curator, gallerist, director, art-seller and art teacher all at the same time, let alone in one small space. Yet it WAS possible at the beginning of the 20th century.
On one hand, Ljubljana could be nothing but thankful to gain such a space, on the other there was one sole guy “dictating” (pardone moi) the whole art scene! Cray. The pavilion was destroyed in the sixties, but you can still see photos of it in the nearby Modern Gallery, where his paintings can be seen too.