Posted by: Valentino Radman | June 4, 2010

Meštrović’s small marble sold at Sotheby’s for $ 125.000

On a Sotheb’y 19th & 20th Century Sculpture auction in London two days ago, this 14 inches marble by renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović,  which was estimated at £ 40.000 – 60.000  fetched £ 85.250 ($ 125.000). Meštrović was one of the most sought after sculptors in his time. He was lauded by Rodin as ‘the greatest phenomenon amongst the sculptors’.

Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) – Portrait of Slavan Vidović

This portrait from Meštrović’s Vienna Secession years is the first major marble by to appear at auction. The subtlety of the carving and the suggestive modulation of the surface are typical of his work from this period. The mysterious, religious mood of the subject links it to the work of other Secessionists. However, the sorrowful expression foreshadow concerns which were to become central to the work of Meštrović’s mature period.
Ivan Meštrović arrived in Vienna to study at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1901. As a very young artist (he was 20 at the time), he began exhibiting with the Vienna Secession in 1903 and was later made a member of the selection committee. In 1910 he exhibited sixty works – mostly from his celebrated Kosovo Cycle – in a dedicated hall of the Vienna Secessionist Group. The following year Meštrović’s work reached a a world stage at the International Exhibition in Rome, where his sculpture won the first prize and brought him global celebrity.
The portrait depicts the young son of Emanuel Vidović, a Croatian painter. The portrait was modelled during Meštrović’s stay in Split in 1906. A plaster version was exhibited at the XXVI Vienna Secession Exhibition that year. The model was also exhibited at the Munich Secession exhibition the following year.

In 2008. Meštrović’s wooden relief The Descent from the Cross from 1913 (90 x 126 cm) has been sold there for more than $ 300.000  (£205,250).
The final price surpassed eight times the initial minimal bid for the artwork.


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