Ksenija Kantoci
(1909 – 1995)
Head of a Young Girl, 1952 – 1953
36 x 14 x 14.5 cm

Ksenija Kantoci graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1937, and then continued her studies in France, Italy and Germany.
Kantoci’s oeuvre abounds in powerful existentially inspired and concise forms of small sizes, with an accentuated monumentality and symbolic quality. She modelled stylised portraits, abstract female figures and heads of domestic animals in bronze, stone, terracotta and wood, all of which are complemented by drawings made in various techniques. Kantoci’s striking psychologically charged and realistically conceived portraits feature a reduction of form and a compression of volume, as is the case in the portrait of her husband, Croatian painter Frano Šimunović, dating from 1955-1956. By reducing mass, Kantoci almost completely abandoned the reality-based concept, which clearly sets her apart from other Croatian sculptors.
The changes from the realistic towards the increasingly reduced forms in the mid-20th century are reflected in her portraits from that period, when the roughness and expressiveness of the execution begin to dominate her figurative works, especially portraits.
In the almost archaic aura of the Head of a Young Girl, the volume is concisely shaped and the narrative details are reduced to expressive physiognomic details, such as an asymmetrically modelled bulky head with a pageboy hairstyle with bangs and a face with expressive eyes, nose and lips.

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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