Posted by: Valentino Radman | November 27, 2010

Ivan Rendić’s sculpture at Sotheby’s

On a recent Sotheby’s auction of 19th and 20th Century European Sculpture in London, this 54cm large marble sculpture titled “Bust of an Algerian Girl” was offered as Lot 51 and attributed as a work of unknown 19th century Italian artist. However, Sotheby’s stuff was wrong in this case (not the first time, mind you), because its author is known. It is the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Rendić (1849-1932) and the sculpture is actually titled “Hercegovka” (“Herzegovinian Woman”).
There are also two bronze casts of this beautiful sculpture, one of which has been stolen two years ago (and not found to this date). Due to all this facts, Sotheby’s deleted Lot 51 from their online auction archive (after Lot 50 comes Lot 52), but not from pdf catalogue.
The original ‘Hercegovka’ is at the Zagreb Modern Gallery. I took these photos there (click for enlargement).



  1. The handling of the fabric is absolutely exquisite. Perhaps the marble offered by Sotheby’s is a copy by another unknown sculptor? If that’s the case usually the lot is denoted “After the manner of (x)”, unless of course they just didn’t know.

  2. It might be possible, but from Sotheby’s photo one gets impression that there is no difference in appearance between the “copy” and the original. (Note the details.) If it was copy then the sculptor must have been a very skilled master who must have had access to the original work, who is in the Gallery collection for decades. It is hard to say anything definitely without access to provenance of the Sotheby’s piece, which is not available.

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