Sculpture Journal

Meštrović in the media, 1919–39: changing perceptions of the sculptor in print

Sculpture Journal (2016), 25, (2), 251–262.

Abstract

‘This is a war book.’ Thus did the Serbian poet, editor and translator Milan Ćurčin introduce the first major monograph on Meštrović in English, published by Williams and Norgate in 1919. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, it was unashamedly propagandistic for, as Ćurčin explained, ‘both the exhibition of the sculpture [at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1915] and the publication of this book form part of an attempted scheme to supplement the military reputation of the Serbocroats by demonstrating the civilising capacities of the race’. This article focuses on the twenty years of peace that followed, and considers some of the main British and French books and exhibition catalogues in which Meštrović was represented between 1919 and 1939. It asks why, even in a radically different era, critical reception of his work was still so frequently framed by political and cultural agendas extraneous to the art of sculpture, and to his own art, and how that has affected his subsequent reputation.

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Author details

Holman, Valerie