Bogdan Borcic Biography

Bogdan Borcic




Painter and printmaker Bogdan Borcic was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1926. He spent the summers of his early childhood at his grandfather’s home in the popular coastal town of Komiza Vis, Croatia, where he may have gained inspiration for the nautical themes of his later work.

Borcic credited family friend and graphic artist Miha Males with encouraging his pursuit of art. He began his studies in 1943 under Matej Sternen at the Technical Faculty’s Drawing School, in his hometown. The following year he began his studies in sculpting under France Gorse. However, his academic pursuits were waylaid by the annexation of Slovenia by Axis forces. Borcic, only fifteen at the time, participated in resistance efforts, designing and distributing flyers directed against the occupiers. Slovenian collaborators betrayed him and on August 10, 1944, Borcic was sent to the Dachau concentration camp. In 1945, after Allied forces liberated Dachau, Borcic returned to his studies, completing secondary studies and then attending Academy of Fine Arts Ljubljana.

Upon graduation in 1950 he apprenticed for a time with his former professor, painter Gabrijel Stupica. He went abroad for the first time in 1956, gaining an appreciation for the works of peers such as Henri Matisse and Georges Braque, as well as taking a year in The Netherlands to study the Old Masters. A trip to the 29th Venice Biennial in 1958 led to his discovery of the work of Mark Rothko, whom he credits alongside Goya as his biggest influence. It wasn’t until later that year that the artist decided he wanted to pursue printmaking. Taking his newly discovered inspiration, Borcic left for Paris to study under Johnny Friedlaender. This proved to be a prophetic experience, as Borcic began to work almost exclusively as a printmaker thenceforth.

In 1969, he began a teaching career at the Academy in Ljubljana, becoming head of the printmaking department in 1979. That same year, he was invited to guest-teach at the Academy of Fine Art Belgium. Borcic remained a professor at the school in his hometown until he retired in 1984. Never one to rest, however, he created, in 2004, a series of works relating to his time as a prisoner at Dachau, under commission by the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, the creation of which Borcic helped realize.

Borcic exhibited internationally. He participated in the Biennials of Ljubljana, Biella, Krakow, Alexandra, Bradford, Liege, Frederikstad, Florence, Frechen, and Menton. He received the Preseren Fund Award for Painting in 1964, and in again in 2005 for his lifetime achievement. He was awarded the Zupancic Award for Painting in 1977, and the Jakopic Award in 1982. He lived in Slovenj Gradec from 1980 until his death in 2014.

His work is represented in the collections of the Albertina (Vienna), the Bozidar Jakac Gallery (Slovenia), and the Slovenj Gradec Fine Arts Gallery, and other galleries and museums in Japan, Germany, and the United States.