Ivan Meštrović and Notre Dame

Ivan Meštrović, Croatian, 1883-1962, Untitled (<em>Study for Jewish Memorial: Moses Pointing at the Ten Commandments</em>), cast 1967. Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Russell G. Ashbaugh Jr. 1987.018.229

Ivan Meštrović, Croatian, 1883-1962, Untitled (Study for Jewish Memorial: Moses Pointing at the Ten Commandments), cast 1967. Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Russell G. Ashbaugh Jr. 1987.018.229

Snite Museum of Art, Lower Level June 8 — August 10, 2019

Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) was among the most famous and prolific figurative sculptors of the 20th century. Born in humble circumstances in rural Croatia, he went on to receive international acclaim for his sculpture first in Europe, then in the United States. Although his career coincides with many of the most dynamic currents of modern and contemporary art⏤notably abstraction and conceptual practices⏤Meštrović maintained a life-long commitment to the human form and to religious themes. In both sculpture and drawing, Meštrović’s style is marked by bold contours and expressive gestures with texture playing a significant role in his three-dimensional work.

The career of the sculptor, commonly referred to as “the Maestro,” is inextricably linked to the University of Notre Dame and the Snite Museum of Art. Meštrović was brought to campus in 1955 by Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, the legendary 15th-president of the university. Until his death in January of 1962 Meštrović  served as “sculptor in residence” at Notre Dame, where he created a wide array of work now found across the campus and in the museum. By the time of his arrival in the United States in 1947 Meštrović was a celebrated figure; his work had been the subject of exhibitions at both the Art Institute of Chicago and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was the first living artist to be offered a one-person show.

The artist's objects now on temporary display in the lower level Annenberg Auditorium Gallery of the Snite Museum of Art are but a sampling of the more than 500 of his works in the museum’s permanent collection. Sculptures are also on permanent display on the first and second floors of the museum as well as in the Eck Visitors Center, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, both outside and inside O’Shaughnessy Hall, and the Hesburgh Library. Combined, they constitute one of the most important historical and artistic legacies to be found at the University of Notre Dame.

For more information and a map of the campus locations of the various Ivan Meštrović sculptures view or download the Snite Museum's digital publication, Ivan Meštrović at Notre Dame: Selected Campus Sculptures Catalog.