Realist painter Anton Ažbe
Anton Ažbe (30 May 1862 – 5 or 6 August 1905) was a Slovene realist painter and teacher of painting. Ažbe, crippled since birth and orphaned at the age of 8, learned painting as an apprentice to Janež Wolf and at the Academies in Vienna and Munich. At the age of 30 Ažbe founded his own school of painting in Munich that became a popular attraction for Eastern European students. Ažbe trained the "big four" Slovenian impressionists (Rihard Jakopič, Ivan Grohar, Matej Sternen, Matija Jama) and a whole generation of Russian painters (Ivan Bilibin, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Igor Grabar, Wassily Kandinsky, Dmitry Kardovsky and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, to name a few).Ažbe's training methods were adopted and reused by Russian artists both at home (Grabar, Kardovsky) and in emigration (Bilibin, Dobuzhinsky).
Ažbe's own undisputed artistic legacy is limited to twenty-six graphic works, including classroom studies, most of them at the National Gallery of Slovenia. His long-planned masterpieces never materialized and, according to Peter Selz, he "never came into his own as an artist".His enigmatic personality blended together alcoholism, chain smoking, bitter loneliness, minimalistic simple living in private, and eccentric behaviour in public. A public scarecrow and a bohemian socialite, Ažbe protected his personal secrets till the end, a mystery even to his students and fellow teachers. The public transformed the circumstances of his untimely death from cancer into an urban legend.Wikipedia