Ivan Meštrovic (1883–1962) was a Croatian sculptor and architect. He is renowned as one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. He was the first living person to have a one man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
He was born on August 15, 1883 in a small village named Vrpolje and died on January 16, 1962 in South Bend, Indiana, USA.
Ivan Mestrovic was working as a sculptor and architect. Furthermore he was a professor for sculpting and gave lessons in sculpting at several Universities like the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, USA.
At the age of 16, he started to learn at the studio of Pavle Bilinic. Bilinic was a master stonecutter who noticed his talent.
Between 1907 and 1909 the young artist attended the Vienna Art Academy. During his time at the academy he created the marble relief “Girl from Kosovo” (1908). This relief is nowadays exhibited at a museum in Belgrade and was once the motive on the old 50-Dinar note.
After staying in Vienna, he moved to Paris, where he lived for some years.
During the time of World War I and World War II he was working at the Art Academy of Zagreb.
He created several monuments and sculptures during this time like the monumental bronze sculpture “Gregory of Nin” in Split or the “Josip Juraj Strossmayer” sculpture in Zagreb and the “Roman Pieta” during the years 1942 and 1946. These three artworks and the Mausoleum Mestrovic in Otavice are mentioned being the main works of the artist.
In 1946, Syracuse University offered him a professorship, and he moved to the United States. His artwork was influenced by the Expressionism and the Vienna Secession. Furthermore the artwork of Ivan Mestrovic got some characteristics of the Renaissance artwork and sculptures of Michelangelo. While working as an artist he also influenced the North American as well as the European art.
He died in 1962 and got buried close to the small village Drnis in Croatia. His grave is situated on top of a small hill in Otavice, his childhood home. The Mausoleum was not only the last resting place of Mestrovic but also the last resting place for some of his family members.