Ivan Meštrovic

Girl with a Lute


Not on display

Ivan Meštrovic 1883–1962
Sedimentary stone
Object: 945 × 815 × 280 mm
Presented by Lord Duveen 1930

Display caption

Mestrovic was a Croatian sculptor who lived and worked in Vienna and Paris. In 1911 he gained a major reputation at the Rome International Exhibition and in 1915 was given an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Following that event a Mestrovic Purchase Fund was set up to buy his works for public collections. This work was bought for the Tate Gallery in 1930 by Lord Duveen, who also provided the funds for the Duveen Sculpture Galleries here. Mestrovic made a number of sculptures of women playing musical instruments during the 1920s and 1930s. He said of them, 'They are an expression of my feelings and longing for harmony between us and the whole world'.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Ivan Meštrović 1883-1962
N04551 Girl with a Lute c.1927-8
Not inscribed
Black marble on travertine base, 37 x 31 ¼ x 11 ½ (94 x 79.5 x 29) including base; height without base 34 (86.5)
Presented by Lord Duveen 1930
Prov: Lord Duveen, London (purchased from the artist 1930)
Exh: Jugoslav Sculpture and Painting, Tate Gallery, April-May 1930 (51); 37th Annual Exhibition, Society of Scottish Artists, Edinburgh, November 1930-January 1931 (376); Jugoslav Paintings and Sculpture, Manchester City Art Gallery, May-June 1931 (26); RSA, Edinburgh, April-July 1948 (6)
Lit: I. Meštrović and Ernest H.R. Collings, Meštrović (Zagreb 1933), n.p., note on pl.40 and repr. pl.40; Harry H. Hilberry and Norman L. Rice, The Sculpture of Ivan Meštrović (New York 1948), p.26, repr. pl.39 (dated 1927); Duško Kečkemet, Ivan Meštrović (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney 1970), introduction n.p., and repr. between pp.123 and 124 as 'Girl with a Lute' 1927 Repr: Apollo, XI, 1930, p.441
First exhibited at the Tate in 1930 as 'Girl with a Guitar' but reproduced by Keckemet as 'Girl with a Lute', which seems to be correct. According to Vesna Barbić (letter of 19 December 1977), the plaster model for this work is in the Gliptoteka Jugoslavenske Akademije in Zagreb and a bronze cast was made in 1977 for the Sculpture Garden, a small collection of the town of Osor, on the island of Osor (Yugoslavia). A further bronze was included in Meštrović's exhibition in Zagreb in 1932 (23) as 'Girl singing, with Guitar', and was later exhibited from 1935-40 in the permanent exhibition of Meštrović's works in his private gallery in Zagreb, Ilica 12. Its present whereabouts are unknown. The marble was reproduced in the catalogue of the Meštrović exhibition at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1933 (13) as 'Girl with a Guitar', marble 1928 (though it was not included in the exhibition), and there is a copy of this catalogue in the archives of the Atelier Meštrović in which it is annotated by the artist with its place of origin 'Zagreb'.
Meštrović made a number of statues of women playing musical instruments in the 1920s and 1930s. Kečkemet quotes him as saying: 'My newest things with musical and melodic motifs (1933) have grown out of a longing for general harmony. They are an expression of my feeling and longing for harmony between us and the whole world'.
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, pp.512-3, reproduced p.512

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