Artist biography

Ivan Mestrovic 1883-1962

Yugoslav sculptor of single figures and monumental works, and architect. Born in Vrpolje, Slavonia, the son of peasants from Otavice in Dalmatia. Grew up in Otavice; impressed by Serbo-Croat folk poetry. Showed great talent for carving, and was sent by patrons to study in a stone carving workshop in Split 1899-1900 and then from 1901 at the Vienna Academy. Lived mainly in Vienna until 1907 and exhibited at the Secession. Influenced by Rodin, later by Maillol and Bourdelle. Lived 1908-9 in Paris, where he became acquainted with Rodin. Worked 1907-12 on his project for the 'Temple of Kosovo' expressive of Serbian nationalism. In 1911 his sculpture was widely acclaimed at the Rome International Exhibition. During the war, lived in Rome, London, Geneva, Cannes and Paris. Returned to Yugoslavia in 1919, and was appointed professor at the Academy, Zagreb, 1922; lived in Zagreb and Split. His works included memorial chapels at Cavtat and Otavice, for which he both designed the architecture and made sculptures. Lived in Rome, Lausanne and Geneva 1942-6, then emigrated in 1947 to the USA; became a US citizen 1954. Professor of sculpture at Syracuse University 1947-55 and at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, 1955-62. Died in South Bend.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.509