Jakac was born on 16th July 1899 in Novo mesto and died on
20th November 1989 in Ljubljana. He attended grammar school in Novo
Mesto and vocational grammar school in Idrija, where he also passed
the final military examination. He studied at the art academy in
Prague (1919-1923) and completed post- graduate studies in painting
(Prof. F.Thiele) and graphic art (Prof. A.Brömse).
In 1925 he was appointed professor of drawing at the II State Vocational School in Ljubljana. He perfected his art on numerous travels throughout Europe, Northern Africa and the USA, where he stayed from 1929 to 1931. He published his memoirs and letters from America in a book entitled Odmevi rdeče zemlje (Echoes of the Red Earth; Ljubljana 1932) in cooperation with the poet Miran Jarc. During the Second World War he joined the Partisan army (1943-1945; he was a member of the Slovene delegation at II AVNOJ Conference in Jajce). In 1945 he was one of the main promoters and organisers of the newly established Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana and its first rector (1945-1947, and later in 1947-1949 and 1959-1961). Until his retirement in 1961 he held the position of professor of graphic art at the academy.
In 1949 he became a full member of the Slovene Academy of Science
and Art, and later a correspondent member of the Yugoslav Academy
of Science and Art in Zagreb (1963) and a correspondent member of
the Serbian Academy of Science and Art in Belgrade (1963). He was
appointed honorary academician of the Accademia Fiorentina delle Arti
del Disegno in Florence (1963), and he was also appointed a full member of the European Academy of Science, Art and Literature in Paris (1982). In 1974 a permanent collection of his graphic prints, and later paintings (1976), was opened in Kostanjevica na Krki; later, the collection was named the Božidar Jakac Gallery (it also includes permanent collections of works by his contemporaries and younger generations: J.Gorjup, T.Kralj, F.Kralj, Z.Didek, F.Gorše, J.Boljka and a collection of works by old masters from the art collection of the Pleterje monastery). In Novo Mesto, the Jakčev
dom gallery (Jakac House) was opened, housing a permanent collection
of his paintings and drawings (1984). His work was awarded with numerous local and foreign awards, including the Prešeren Award (1947, 1948, 1949 and 1980) and AVNOJ Award (1967). He created one of the largest opuses of paintings (landscapes and portraits in oils and particularly crayons), drawings and, above all, graphic prints in Slovenia. He is the most distinguished Slovene portraitist, landscape painter (particularly of his home region of Dolenjska) and veduta painter. He documented his time, historical events and celebrities in drawing, graphic prints, photography and films (from his early years). He mastered all the techniques of graphic art and passed his knowledge on to future student generations of the Ljubljana academy. His works also include illustration, small-scale graphic art, stamp design and organisation. He was a promoter of the founding of the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Art and the International Biennial of Graphic Art in Ljubljana. He started his creative life in the style of lyrical impressionism and fin de siecle symbolism.
He is one of the founders of Slovene expressionism and during this
period his art reached its peak and then slowly transformed itself
into lyrical realism.