THE HISTORY OF THE GALLERY
The Ivan Mestrovic Palace was built in Split between
1931 and 1939. Mestrovic himself made the original plans
based on his own design, the architects Harold Bilinic
and Lavoslav Horvat developed them, and the builder
Marin Marasovic was in charge of the works. The construction
was built section by section, starting from the East
and ending with the western parts, and it was designed
to serve living, working, and exhibition purposes.
Ivan Mestrovic and his
family resided in their palace at Meje from the summer
of 1932. In 1941, Mestrovic left for Zagreb, while his
wife and children remained in Split for another year.
In the owner’s absence, it was Dr. Milan Curcin who
first took care of the artist’s house and property (1942-1947),
and Dr. Cvito Fiskovic took over between 1947 and 1952.
The palace, later converted into the Ivan Mestrovic
Gallery, was inhabited by several families between 1947
In 1952 in his will Ivan Mestrovic made a donation to
the Republic of Croatia, which made possible the founding
of a museum institution - the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery.
The Gallery was ceremoniously opened for the public
on 9th September 1952.
The Gallery was under the jurisdiction of the Conservation
Institute for Dalmatia until 1955, when it became independent
and was placed under the Culture and Education Department
of the City of Split.
Since 1991, the Gallery has been an integral part of
the Ivan Mestrovic Foundation with the headquarters
Its mission is to collect, protect, present, and professionally
and scholarly treat the museum material and documentation
relating to Ivan Mestrovic's life and work.
|The holdings of the
Ivan Mestrovic Gallery were established in 1952
by a contract of donation concluded between Ivan
Mestrovic and the Peopl's Republic of Croatia. The
initial Gallery holdings contained 70 sculptures,
listed by the artist on the lists 1 and 2 of the
contract and selected to be placed in the future
museum of his works in Split and in the Kastelet-Crikvine
complex. In time, those holdings grew through purchases,
exchanges, casting of bronze and stone sculptures
from plaster models, and donations from the artist
himself, his heirs, or other donors. Today, the
holdings contain 192 sculptures, 583 drawings, 4
paintings, 291 architectonic plans (almost entirely
made by Ivan Mestrovic and dating between 1898 and
1961), and 2 furniture sets, one of which is made
according to Mestrovic's sketches and is a part
of the New Permanent Display of the former dining
room. The Ivan Mestrovic Gallery houses not only
works owned by it, but also 168 works of art owned
by Ivan Mestrovic's heirs. Apart form the museum
holdings, the Gallery collects documentation relating
to Ivan Mestrovic's life and work. Especially interesting
items are the photographs of the artist's first
works (taken at the beginning of the century in
Vienna and in 1908 and 1909 in Paris) and the archive
material. There is the family archive found in
the house in 1952, containing letters of the family
members and friends, as well as their personal
documents, and the archive of the builder Marin
Marasovic, covering the building of The Most Holy
Redeemer Church in Otavice, the erection of the
Monument to Unknown Hero on Avala, and the building
of the family villa and Kastelet at Meje in Split.