Typhus Sufferer, 1957
Vanja Radauš graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (mentored by R. Frangeš Mihanović and R. Valdec; attended I. Meštrović’s special course in 1930). He resided in Paris (in 1928, 1930 and 1931), where he got to know the works of A. Watteau, A. Rodin and A. Bourdelle. His study of Michelangelo’s works in Italy in 1937 steered him towards expressive, dynamic and dramatic forms, which became a distinctive feature of his entire sculptural oeuvre. In 1940 he started teaching at the School of Crafts in Zagreb, and between 1945 and 1969 when he retired he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb as a full professor.
Radauš’s sensitivity and passion for social issues brought him close to the Zemlja (Earth) group of artists, of which he was a member from 1932 to 1933. He remained unwaveringly committed to Zemlja’s programme principles both as an individual and an artist throughout his career. His expressive, dynamic and masterful modelling and thematic focus on marginal members of society come to the fore in his statues, portraits and nudes. He left a trace on all types of sculpture, from medal making, terracotta, plaster, stone, wax and bronze sculpture to public monuments, such as The Fallen (The Wounded), a statue from 1938 installed in the courtyard of the National Museum of Modern Art. The irregular shape of his first medal (Ante Starčević, 1943) and the way he treated surfaces displaying pronounced expressiveness and associativity charted a new direction in Croatian medal making.
Radauš’s Typhus Sufferers, a series of bronze statues, are an expression of his distinct negation of the heroic pathos.
Text: Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb