This exhibition covered the period between 1918 and 1942. During these years, Smrekar’s strong creative enthusiasm led his across the narrow Slovenian borders into the universal, world realm. There is an obvious turn from the artist who went abroad full of ideals and youthful enthusiasm, to the one who became increasingly bitter over the years and saw deformity all around him. Therefore, we should not be surprised that he became such a caricaturist and an almost absolute cynic, like all defeated, doubting idealists.
Numerous self-caricatures and caricatures of his contemporaries, loving portraits of his mother, socio-political satires and illustrations for various publications and books, fairy-tale scenes with dwarves and elves and humorous mountaineering scenes were followed by two cycles that are true prophetic visions – the graphic cycle The Seven Deadly Sins and a cycle of larger drawings Mirror of the World; in both he strongly condemned society and individuals living in it, especially their morals and the disorderly, confusing social conditions. Shocking drawings of the mentally unwell, sketches for the competition to decorate the grand hallway of the Banovina Palace, oil paintings and sculptures in baked clay were followed by illustrations for Andersen’s fairy tales. He also drew attention to the ascending Nazism in a series of political caricatures depicting Stalin and his generals, Churchill, Roosevelt, and others.