The retrospective Ivan Meštrović exhibition is an exceptional cultural event held at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb from 22 November 2023 to 3 March 2024. The event, organized by the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery and the Ivan Meštrović Museums, celebrates the 140th anniversary of the birth of the world-renowned sculptor, architect, painter and author. Around two hundred works from museums, galleries, churches and private collections will be displayed across three gallery floors, in its atrium and lobby. It is a unique opportunity to see works from all life and creative periods of the great artist, a citizen of the world who maintained an emotional connection with his homeland, which has inherited his priceless artistic treasure.
Among the works displayed at the exhibition, it will be possible to see some of his most famous sculptures, as well as the less-known works which will serve as a true discovery to the expert audience and the public. The works were collected in Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, Czechia, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The exceptional talent of Ivan Meštrović places him among some of the most notable, world-renowned artists of the first half of the 20th century. His works adorn numerous public spaces all over the world. One of such famous works is the impressive, monumental sculpture Indians (also known as The Bowman and the Spearman), located in the center of Chicago, while Meštrović's Girl with a Lute is displayed at the United Nations building in New York, honoring the artist’s work. With his Deed of Donation to the Croatian People of 1952, he left a number of his masterpieces, impressive architecture and visually enriched spaces, managed by the Museums of Ivan Meštrović. The Museum components are also located in his home and atelier in Zagreb, as well as the family villa and the renovated Renaissance Kaštilac in Split and Otavice, the birthplace of his family. In those spaces, the audience can enjoy hundreds of his works. The residents of Zagreb and its visitors have the opportunity to see some of Meštrović's most significant artworks displayed across public spaces. The streets of Zagreb are a true open-air gallery. In front of the Croatian National Theater, one of the symbols of the city, the Well of Life, designed by Meštrović in an impressionist style in 1905, was placed in its current location in 1912. Meštrović's imprint can also be found on the sculpture The History of Croats, a sculpture with an inscription in Glagolitic script that depicts the figure of a caring mother, representing the guardian of the national heritage and identity.
There are many more sculptures in the public spaces of Zagreb, including monuments to the inventor Nikola Tesla, the renowned Đakovo bishop and enlightener Josip Juraj Strossmayer and the scientist Ruđer Bošković. His sculptures can be seen in churches, in front of public institutions and at the remarkable Zagreb cemetery, Mirogoj. Meštrović's style is also prominent in one of Zagreb's architectural symbols, the Home of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists, built in 1938. The locals of Zagreb often refer to it as the Meštrović Pavilion in honor of the author. He created sacred works in the Church of Christ the King in Trnje and the famous Upper Town Parish Church of St. Mark, where he crafted sculptures and reliefs. Zagreb, the city where Ivan Meštrović left a strong artistic imprint, is the ideal stage for a major retrospective exhibition that will undoubtedly attract numerous admirers of the artist's work from Croatia and around the world.