Irena Polanec

Painter Irena Polanec was born on 31.12.1948 in Maribor, Slovenia, where she currently lives and works. She was shaped by her experiences abroad, in Paris, which she chose as a very young girl in the 1970s as the place of her artistic dreams, hopes and self-affirmation, and where she spent a large part of her creative time.

As a young painter, she was taken under the wing of the then iconic Parisian gallery Mona Lisa. With her own original and bold artistic message, she was able and succeeded in making an impact in the world of fine art at a very early age, and attracted such attention that she was entrusted, in co-authorship with Louis Pauwels, the famous French writer and long-time director of France’s largest daily newspaper, “Le Figaro”, with the conception and publication of a book on original fine art, “L’Arche de Noe”.

Irena Polanec continues to confirm her talent as a painter in selected Parisian salons such as “Salon des Artistes Français”, “Comparaison” and “Indépendant”, as well as in numerous exhibitions around the world. Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Milan, Zurich, Monte Carlo, Luxembourg, Munich, Vienna, Zagreb, Warsaw, Bratislava, Shanghai… these are just some of the world metropolises where she has exhibited and continues to exhibit today.

She was accepted as a life member of the Société des Artistes Français. An honour that for the first time has befallen Slovenia and a Slovenian artist. In 1979, she was the first Slovenian painter to be admitted to the “Salon des Artistes Français – Le Salon”. In 2007 she received a bronze medal at “Le Salon” and in 2012 a silver medal, both of which were awarded to her at Art Actuel, the largest art exhibition in Paris, at the Grand Palais in Paris.

  • Irena Polanec’s painting, this is the Renaissance of the twentieth century. It’s all the gold of sunken galleys. These are the awakened Madonnas. It’s all beauty lost and found again.

    Iracema Arditi, Brazilian painter

  • Painter Irena Polanec has been collaborating with the Mona Lisa gallery for many years, with great success. Irena Polanec’s artworks are highly valued, the same as the most distinguished artists of our gallery: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta, Andre Masson, Françis Picabia…

    Arnaud Romic, Parisian gallerist

  • Man, in his environment is Irena’s great preoccupation. For her, the world is a great enigma. That is why her paintings are very often surrealistic.

    Louis Pauwels, French writer and director of the French daily Le Figaro

  • Irena Polanec certainly occupies a special and unique place in the art world. The core of her painting is above all the woman, with all her exuberance and the mysticism that surrounds her. The woman is an eternal enigma, which is why Irena Polanec’s seemingly realistic paintings are charged with a strong dose of surrealism.

    Max Fourny, Paris publisher

  • Red and black, said Stendhal, she added a handful of gold. Thus, was born the painter Irena Polanec.

    Anatole Jakovsky, French art critic

  • Irena Polanec confronts us again and again with the Mermaids, who have risen from a wet element with an abundance of shells, snails and seaweed in their hair, to convince the Prince to let them live on dry land. Resurrection from hope, longing for the fate of Ophelia, who returned there when the terrestrial – courtly – life became unbearable.

    dr. Zoran Kržišnik, Slovenian art historian and art critic

  • The painting work of Irena Polanec is imbued with full confidence in the future, in which a different gender balance will prevail. And if the future is what can be discerned from the gallery of expressions offered by her artistic creation, then it is not difficult for us to evoke a world built on the foundation of these values.

    dr. Enzo Santese, Italian art historian and art critic

  • Irena Polanec is one of our favourite painters. That’s because she is loved by critics and public alike. Usually painters only like one of these two categories.

    Monette Basso, Italian gallerist

Painter Irena Polanec represents a distinctly individual name on the scene of contemporary Slovenian fine art, whose otherness excites both the narrow professional and the broadest public. The fact that she was chosen with a huge number of votes for the honourable title of “Slovenian Woman of the Year 1997” speaks volumes about this.

In 1998, she was awarded the “Gold Medal” by the Honorary Commission of Le Mérite et Dévouement Français for her outstanding contribution to the prestige of French culture. She also received the “Bronze Medal for Painting” of the Arts – Sciense – Lettres Academic Association and the “Golden Painting 1998” prize awarded by the French National Federation of Culture.

She is also a member of several art associations and academies. In 2018, she was awarded the Prix Pablo Picasso of the Accademia “Italia in Arte nel Mondo” and in 2019, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the same academy ranked her among the descendants of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting.

At the turn of the millennium, a book on 500 years of women’s painting, “Femmes Artistes d’hier à aujourd’hui”, was published in France. The book presents female painters who, according to Parisian critics, have and will leave their mark on the history of fine art. Irena Polanec was also included among them.

On-line shop coming soon

Motifs from the on-line shop

Works of the painter Irena Polanec have admirers in various techniques and forms on all continents, you can also order some of them yourself in our on-line shop.

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On-line shop

“Man will never create anything more beautiful and perfect than nature. For me, I always find refuge in nature, where all my doubts, fears and stresses disappear, where all my inspirations are born. It is there that I am energised to create.”

Irena Polanec

She spent two decades of her life in the mecca of art, Paris. Even there, she dreamt of having a garden, but living in the capital made it virtually impossible. She therefore preferred to visit Giverny, where she admired the garden of the famous painter Claude Monet and marvelled at how a painter could also thrive as a gardener.

“The garden was created out of a perception that grew inside me. And then it’s just a matter of working, of going into action immediately. Planting, pruning, combining. Because I’m a painter, I’m very interested in colour combinations. The very shades of green are fantastic, no tree is the same green. And then I add yellow, which shines out of the shadows, and red. Because red is a very dear colour to me, the colour of strength and love.”

Irena Polanec

Video from the television program Ambienti

From early childhood, she has been connected to animals. Even then, she knew that animals are good to you if you are good to them, and that they always return your love abundantly. Even as a little girl of just a few years, she had her own animal cemetery, where all sorts of bugs, spiders, birds and kittens were laid to rest.

Video from the program Štiri tačke