One of the celebrated Slovenian-Australian artists, Rapotec enchanted the public and critics with his work. Moving from realism, through relentless work, he developed his own style in the field of abstract expression. Violent influences create tension which tells personal and social tales. His association with the sculptor France Gorše in Sveče, Koroška, with whom he shared his immigrant life path though each on their own continent, reflected the never-ending search for innovative materials and direction. His artistic path has left traces in Australia, as in Slovenia, where he often exhibited successfully.

Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Anthology of Slovenian Artists and Sculptors

Stanislav Rapotec was born in Trieste, 1911, died in Sydney in1997.


Education:  studied economics at the University of Zagreb (1933-1939). Career began at the Bank of Yugoslavia. An interest in Byzantine Masters and architectural forms led to studies in art history.

After migrating to Adelaide, South Australia in 1948, he committed to a career as an artist

Training-  no formal training in painting but began painting in the Middle East, in the war years, where the landscape inspired him.(p. 131)


Archibald Prize, 1960, for ‘Mea Culpa’

Blake Prize for Religious Art, 1961, for ‘ ‘Meditating on Good Friday’

Why paint?

To express yourself and your experience of life is important. Rap experiences in the war years, intelligence missions, witnessing the effects of war on refugees and border crossings (523, A&Aust)

Sympathy for the ravaged landscape which was witnessed on his travels in the Middle East during the war years,  then the similar SA landscape.


Byzantine Masters, Greek Mythology, architectural styles and the Middle East.

Abstract Expressionism, a form of action painting that expresses a state of mind through form with hardly the intervention of the hand

Artistic Style or Artist that inspired:

-swept up by the verve and excitement and exploratory urge which animated all artists of the time. They were trying to break away from the common style and discovered one that was expressive, abundant and at the same time fulfilling to the artist himself.

Inspiration was drawn from the local artists working and exhibiting at the time, Jacqueline Hicks, Jeffrey Smart, Ivor Francis Horace Trenerry, Geoffrey Dutton Max Harris and was particularly impressed with the work of Hans Heysen.(522 A&A)


Paint on solid wooden panels requiring much preparation, application of paint with grand gestures.

Process/ Style-

J.C. noted of R. work – displays emotional suffering, tension and conflict, with dark shadows being broken through with shining, bright light, showing a stretching toward redemption( J. Cassab 58, A&A)

According to J.C. R ‘ meditated about a painting for weeks. The act of painting required a great deal of preparation before a sudden, frenetic release and completion in one go.( John Olsen describes R. painting method as a spontaneous Zen moment, even working over paintings.( Judy Cassab, p. 58Art and Australia, 1970)

Laurie Thomas recalls R work as fast and direct and expressive conveying, in the words of T.S. Elliot, ‘finding an objective correlative to states of mind and feeling( Art and Australia,1970),  but one that has formal structure and makes an objective statement.


Upon arriving in Australia. around 1955, Rapotec’s paintings were very orderly, controlled depicting the arid landscapes which he had a sympathetic attraction to. Reference to physical surroundings was abandoned for pictures executed on a large scale which convey a mood or emotion. Subject matter was widened and palette extended.

Drama and passion are conveyed by personally invented shapes which show the inner experience in an imaginative and symbolic way. Invented symbols were also used to represent the drama of ancient Greek mythological gods

The influence of Abstract Expressionism, in 1958-9, resulted in dark, turbulent but liberating modes of expression, which did not lose the sense of order.

In an interview with  Laurie Thomas, Rapotec commented on the development and inspiration of his artwork and the change in his art….. ‘Expression in art depends heavily on change. Change happens naturally in everyday life . the process of change is logical and spontaneous. Years of experience, tragedies and joyful events struggle to be heard in artistic form. According toRapotec. To grow as an artist, a wide range of experiences is needed, then struggling performing, experimenting and then being willing to expose oneself to the full brunt of criticism (p.131 Art and Australia, Sept.1970)

‘For a work to materialize, there needs to be a strong desire to express oneself. Then knowledge of technique and artistic principles is needed, the ability to handle forms and order. With age, experiences mellow and soften and the impact shows in the work in brightened and softened artistic works without losing force.( 131 A&A Sept 1970)


ART and AUSTRALIA, September, 1970

ART and AUSTRALIA, Quarterly Journal. Volume 35 Number 1, Published in Aust. Printed in Singapore, Fine Arts Press 1997

Liliana Egglesteon Tomažič

Solo Exhibitions
1952 John Martin gallery, Adelaide
1953 Royal Society of Art Gallery, Adelaide
1959 Clune Gallery, Sydney
1960 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney
1962 South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne
1962 Clune Gallery, Sydney
1964 Hungry Horse Gallery, Sydney
1965 Qantas Gallery, London
1966 Gallery A, Sydney
1966 South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne
1967 Bonython Gallery, Sydney
1967 David Jones Gallery, Sydney
1968 Macquarie Gallery, Sydney
1968 Gallery A, Melbourne
1969 Bonython Gallery, Sydney
1969 White Studio, Adelaide
1971 Bonython Gallery, Sydney
1972 Realities Gallery, Melbourne
1975 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris
1978 Katoliški prosvetni dom, Tainach, Austria
1980 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
1982 Australian Embassy, Paris
1983 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
1984 Nippon Club Gallery, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1950-60 Annual Contemporary Art Society Shows, Adelaide & Sydney
1954-63 Blake Prize Exhibition, Sydney
1954 Peter Bray Gallery, Melbourne
1959 Australian Paintings, San Francisco
1960 New Vision Gallery, London
1961 Bienale de Sao Paolo, Brasil
1961 Sydney Nine Group, Sydney & Melbourne
1961 Pacific Art Exhibition, New Zealand
1961 Rubenstein Entrant, Sydney
1962 Rubenstein Entrant, Sydney
1963 Australian Painting – Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary, travelling to State Galleries and Tate Gallery, London
1964 Australian Painting Today, Galeriee Creuge, Paris
1964 George’s Prize Exhibition, Melbourne
1965 Wardle Prize, Perth
1966 Wardle Prize, Perth
1966 Harold Mertz Collection, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide
1966 Festival of Perth, WA
1966-68 George’s Prize Exhibition, Melbourne
1968 Transfield Prize, Sydney
1971 Travelodge Paintings, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1972 Australian Paintings of the Past 20 Years, London
1977 The Heroic Years of Australian Paintings 1940-65, Melbourne
1978 Australian Drawings, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
1982 Paintings Selected by Patrick White, Art Gallery of New South Wales
1988 Images of Religion in Australian Art , National Gallery of Victoria
1990 Slovenski likovni ustvarjalci po svetu. Starejša generacijaiz obeh
1990 Amerik in Avstralije , Galerija Dolenjskega muzeja, Novo Mesto
1991 Slovene Artistic Creativity Abroad , Galerija Dolenjskega Muzeja
1990-91 Novo Mesto & Mestrna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia,
1997 The Europeans: Emigre Artists in Australia, 1930-1960 , NGA, 1997.
2001 Federation: Australian Art & Society 1901-2001, National Gallery of Australia & touring Australia 2001-02
2001 A Century of Collecting: 1901-2001, Ivan Dogherty Gallery, UNSW
2001 50 Years of the Blake Prize for Religious Art, QUT & travelling

Selected Collections
Australian Embassy, Paris
Vatican Gallery of Modern Religious Art
Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris
Blake Dawson Waldron
National Gallery of Australia
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery of South Australia
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Queensland Art Gallery
Numerous Regional Galleries & Tertiary Collections
Corporate & Private Collections in Australia & Overseas

Selected Bibliography
Books and Articles:
Laurie Thomas, ‘Stanislaus Rapotec’, Art and Australia, Vol 8, No 2
Miran Ogrin, Stanislav Rapotec – naš umetnik v Avstraliji, 1969
Gary Catalano, The Years of Hope, 1981
Anne Fairbairn, ‘Rapotec at Seventy’, Quadrant, November 1983
R. Crumlin, Images of Religion in Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, 1988
M. Tršar, Slovene Artistic Creativity Abroad, Ljubljana, 1990-91
Smith, B & T., Australian Painting, 1991 edition
Dr Irene Mislej, Stanislav Rapotec: Creator of New Mental Images, Slovenija, 1996
Lou Klepac, ‘Artist with a Vast Impact’, The Australian, 21 Nov 1997, p.16
Joanna Mendelssohn, ‘Immigrant Thrived in 50s Sydney’, 21 Nov 1997, p.16
C. Heathcote, ‘Days of Hope’, Art Monthly # 99, May 1997
J. McDonald, Federation: Australian Art & Society 1901-2001, NGA, 2000-01

Selected Reviews:
‘An Enthusiastic Artist’, Adelaide News, 1953
James Gleeson, The Sun, 14 Sept 1960
B. Hannan, The Bulletin, 26 May 1962
‘Australian Art in Three Phases’, The Times London, 24 Jan 1963
Helen Lambert, New York Herald, 30 Jan 1963
‘Rapotec at Hungry Horse Gallery’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Mar 1964
D. Thomas, Sunday Telegraph, 29 Mar 1964
M.T.M***, Lettres Françaises, 26 Nov 1964
Peter Grose, Sunday Mirror, 29 Mar 1966
Gavin Souter, The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 1966
Elwyn Lynn, The Australian, 2 April 1966
J. Gleeson, The Sun, 7 April 1966
Wallace Thornton, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 1966
J. Gleeson, The Sun, 8 June 1966
“Mellowing of a wild expressionist”, The Age, 14 Sept 1966
Alan Warren, The Australian, 17 Sept 1966
Charles Bush, The Australian, 17 Sept 1966
Dr George Berger, The Sydney Jewish News, 23 Dec 1966
Laurie Thomas, The Australian, 13 May 1967
Ronald Millar, The Australian, 13 May 1967
Wallace Thornton, The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1967
James Gleeson, The Sun, 31 May 1967
John Henshaw, The Australian, 3 June 1967
Helen Sweeney, The Sunday Telegraph, 4 June 1967
‘Rapotec: A Clap of Thunder’, The Sun-Herald, 4 June 1967
‘Exhibition by Rapotec’, The Canberra Times, 25 April 1968
Robin Waalce-Crabbe, The Canberra Times, 27 April 1968
Lou Klepac, London Evening News, 16 Feb 1969
Donald Brook, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Mar 1969
John Henshaw, The Australian, 5 April 1969
Ivor Francis, Sunday Mail, 19 July 1969
James Gleeson, The Sun, 31 Mar 1971
J. Henshaw, The Australian, 3 April 1971
Margaret Jones, The Sydney Morning Herald, 03 April 1971
Miša Lajovic, ‘Podoba umetnika’, Društvene Novice, Dec 1971
David Rankin, The National Times , 12-17 April 1971

Eva Breuer, Art Dealer, Woollahra, NSW, Australia

Stanislav Rapotec Study of Art

Biography of Stanislaus Rapotec


James Gleeson Interviews: Stanislaus Rapotec – National Gallery of Australia


Art Gallery NSW Collection

National Gallery Australia – Work by Stanislaus Rapotec – America and Australia


Art Gallery NSW, Judy Cassab: Stanislaus Rapotec


Charles Nodrum Gallery


Charles Nodrum Gallery Artwork Hera by Stanislaus Rapotec

Charles Nodrum Gallery – Artists Profile

Savill Galleries – Stanislaus Rapotec

Stanislaus Rapotec artist images


The Blake Prize for Religious Art


Dr Zoja Bojić: Stanislav Rapotec, a Barbagogenius in Australian Art


Ustvarjanje iz vrelcev življenja (Slovenian)


Stanislav Rapotec awarded the OAM


A horse designed by a Committee


Stanislav Rapotec by Gabor Gergely






Photo Gallery

To enlarge click on the image

The photos of the paintings are from the Masters Thesis by Fr Ciril A. Božič OFM, entitled:  Religiozna govorica v delih slikarja Stanislava Rapotca, Teološka fakulteta v Ljubljani, 1991. Permission given in 1991.

Video Gallery