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 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Ivan Mestrovic's marble portrait of a child sold at Sotheby's in London 2010
Ivan Mestrovic's marble portrait of a child sold at Sotheby's in London 2010
By Dr. Mate Meštrović | Published  06/10/2010 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
Portrait of the son of Croatian painter Emanuel Vidović in Split 1906

Ivan Meštrović 1883-1962, distinguished Croatian sculptor

Meštrović's marble portrait of Slavan Vidović, son of Croatian painter Emanuel Vidović, carved in Split in 1906
monogrammed: IM
white marble

This portrait of Slavan Vidović is the first major marble by Meštrović to appear at auction. It is also the first major work from the artist's Vienna Secession years 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 and quasi-religious mood of the subject links it to the work of other Secessionists, such as the  painter-founder Gustav Klimt. However, the sorrowful expression and the Slavic connotations of the subject foreshadow concerns which were to become central to the work of Meštrović's mature period.

Meštrović arrived in Vienna to study at the city's Academy of Fine Arts in 1901. The young sculptor began exhibiting with the Vienna Secession in 1903 and was later made a member of the selection committee.

In 1910 Meštrović 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. A version of the portrait is recorded in Curcin's monograph of 1919, given the title The Little Slavan, but the medium is not mentioned. The Atelier Meštrović preserves a patinated plaster version also monogrammed IM and numbered or dated VIII.

The records of the Atelier Meštrović document two other versions in plaster and bronze in private collections. Meštrović exhibited a piece entitled Bambino, marmo at the VII. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Cittŕ de Venezia, La Biennale in 1907 under number 30. Contemporary written sources identify the exhibit as the sculptor's portrait of Slavan Vidović. The present re-discovered marble can probably be identified with the Biennale exhibit.

Whilst the early history of the piece is unknown, it probably remained in private hands in Vienna. In 1950 the Director of the Kunsthistorischen Museums in Vienna wrote to the Director of the Metropolitan Museum, New York to request that he ask Meštrović who was then working in Syracuse, to identify whether this was one of his early works. In a letter of 6 November 1950 Meštrović wrote directly to the Kunsthistorisches Museum to confirm that it was. Four letters relating to this correspondence are preserved in the Meštrović Archive at Notre Dame University, Indiana. A transcription of Meštrović's  response, signed and stamped by the Administrative Direktor of the Kunsthistorischen Museum, will be forwarded to the successful bidder on this lot.


Priopćenje o prodaji djela Ivana Meštrovića u Sotheby's

Dana 2. lipnja 2010. na dražbi "Europsko kiparstvo 19. i 20. stoljeća"* u kući Sotheby's u Londonu sa velikim uspjehom prodano je još jedno djelo Ivana Meštrovića (1883.–1962.). Mramorna bista iz 1906. naslovljena "Mali Slavan" portret je sina hrvatskog slikara Emanuela Vidovića (1870. - 1953.). Prvotna procjena bila je 40,000- 60,000 GBP/ funti. Postignuta je iznimno visoka cijena (85,250 GBP /funti), naročito kada se uzme u obzir to da se radi o portretu, pri tome djeteta, te da ovaj kip nije kapitalno djelo umjetnika.

Od ponuđenih na toj dražbi 136 djela Meštrovićev portret Slavana Vidovića postigao je drugu najvišu cjenu kao pojedinačno djelo,  odmah nakon velike skulpture iz 1873.  "La Schiava Greca" (144cm.), što još jedan put potvrđuje iznimno visoko mjesto koje zauzima u svjetskoj umjetnosti Ivan Meštrović. 

*Sale: L10230 , 19th and 20th Century European Sculpture

** Scipione Tadolini (1822-92).

Ranije prodaje djela Ivana Meštrovića u Sotheby's :
  • The Descent from the cross, 1913, drveni reljef. Prodano 11. studenog 2008. za 205,250 GBP
  • Mother Teaching her Child to Pray, New York, 1925. Prodano 2. lipnja 2009. za 99,650 GBP
  • A portrait of the artist's wife, Ruža Klein, 1915.  Prodano 29. svibnja 2008. za 90,500 GBP
  • Small Drawing "Pieta" 1913.  Prodano 25. studenog 2009. za 8,750 GBP

Fotografije  Rumjana Meštrović

Zahvaljujemo gđi. Rumjani i g. Mate Meštroviću na ovom prilogu poslanom za čitatelje CROWN-a.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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