Jan Oeltjen / War Aquarelles and Drawings
UKM | Maribor University Library, Gospejna ulica 10
10 October – 10 November 2018
opening: Wednesday, 10 October 2018, 18:00
exhibition curator: Mojca Štuhec

Jan Oeltjen, a visual artist formed in Germany in the spirit of German expressionism, was conscripted in 1915. He spent the First World War on French and Russian fronts, in the Vosges and in Latvia. During this time he had created a number of artworks recording soldiers' life, their living environment, nearby places, nature desolated by war, soldiers' portraits and self-portraits. Numerous watercolour paintings and a few drawings are preserved, mainly kept by private owners.

For the present exhibition, works from the artist's great-granddaughter, Mrs. Martina Mehrmann-Schmidt's collection were selected. UGM had put up a number of Oeltjen exhibitions, with the final one in 2007 encompassing the artist’s early period up to 1930. Centenary of the First World War's ending poses an opportunity for an integral presentation of war motives in the work of this excellent artist who, after settling permanently near Ptuj in 1930, left a visible mark in Slovenian fine arts.

Jan Oeltjen was born in 1880 in Jadenberg, Oldenburg, he studied in Berlin, Munich and Rome. After his marriage to Elsa, an artist from the well-known Kasimir family, he lived- with intermissions- in Ptuj from 1910 until his death in 1968. At first his creative work was influenced by the symbolists and the painter Hans von Marées, while afterwards he was attracted by expressionism. Above all, the acquaintance with Oskar Kokoschka left a visible trace in his work. Oeltjen's extensive opus includes graphic cycles, numerous aquarelles - the ones created during the First World War stand out – and oil paintings, dedicated to the coexistence of man and nature.