Antun Augustinčić
(1900 – 1979)
Girl Asleep (Rest), 1948
carving, marble
88 x 50 x 60.5 cm

Alongside Ivan Meštrović and Frano Kršinić, Antun Augustinčić is the most prominent Croatian sculptor of the 20th century. In 1918, he started studying sculpture at the Advanced School of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb under Rudolf Valdec and Robert Frangeš, and in 1922, when it became the Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts, he continued his studies under Ivan Meštrović. After his graduation in 1924, as a French government scholarship holder, he moved to Paris where he studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs and Académie des Beaux-Arts in the class of J. A. Injalbert. In 1925, he exhibited his works at the Salon des artistes français, then in 1926 at the Salon des Indépendants. He was one of the founders of the socially engaged art group Earth (1929 - 1935), and worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb since 1946.
After the 1930s, the artist’s realistic free agitated modelling style and original artistic idea, featuring suggestive dramatic movements and expressivity, are visible in his figurative and equestrian compositions, which he successfully applied to numerous public monuments realised around the world.
Augustinčić found respite from public monuments in an impressive gallery of subjective sculptures, creating figures of women and female nudes, connecting objective beauty and individual sculptural projection. The skilfully carved Girl Asleep is depicted as a clothed, barefoot young woman in a seated position with her arms around her knees, her head resting on her left shoulder. The lyrical figure in a lovely relaxed pose is sculpted with an impressively conveyed unblemished tenderness of youth.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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