Ante Gržetić 2.jpg

Designers & Creators Directory

Ante Gržetić

(AHN-tay GRZH-eh-tich)

Birthplace: Škaljari, in present-day Montenegro (near Kotor)

Heritage: Yugoslav

Date born: February 28th, 1920

Date deceased: December 4th, 1992 (at the age of 72 in Belgrade)

Education: Academy of Fine Arts, Belgrade (graduated 1949)

Biography

Academy-trained sculptor Ante Gržetić was born on February 28th, 1920 in the small village of Škaljari on the southern outskirts of seaside town Kotor in what is today the country of Montenegro. After WWII, he headed to Belgrade for a secondary education in art, where he studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade and subsequently graduated in 1949. Gržetić then became a member of the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia (ULUS) in 1954 and the following year in 1955 proceeded to study at the State "Master Workshop" of the famous sculptor Toma Rosandić. He belonged to the new generation of Yugoslav artists who left their mark on the profession in the second half of the 20th century, filled with both ideological pressures and a craving for freedom of expression. Very soon he positioned himself among the recognized and popular authors of the public monuments dedicated to the People's Liberation Struggle by winning numerous open competitions.

[written by Ivan Gržetić]

Photo 1: Gržetić's sculpture "Wounded/Ranjenik" [source]

Gržetić’s first celebrated success in pursuing the creation of memorial sculpture was winning the commission to create the first monument to the victims of Kragujevac at Šumarice Memorial Park [profile page], which he completed in 1959. Sculpted from marble and titled "Monument of Pain & Defiance", this was among the first memorial works in Serbia which commemorated the tragedy of Kragujevac and did so in an extremely modern way, with it being among the earliest modernist memorial sculptures in Yugoslavia. This work was so well accepted that Gržetić went on to create a second memorial work in Kragujevac, "Monument of Resistance and Freedom", just a few years later in 1966. Throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Gržetić would create numerous monuments across Yugoslavia, with notable examples standing out with his works at Topola, Peć and Gnjilane.

None of the monuments which Gržetić made were subjected to the demands of ideology and each of them is expressive in its own way by communicating pain, defiance, pride or zest for life. The monumentality of these works comes from their architectural and spatial persuasiveness, while the stylization of forms is reduced to the expressiveness of the free standing sculpture and the form. One unique public sculpture made by Gržetić outside the realm of WWII memorialization was the Monument to Ivan Crnojević in Cetinje [bronze, 1982], which is related to history of Montenegro. Ivan Crnojević, also known as "Ivan the Black", was Lord of Zeta in the 15th century and founded with his son Đurađ the famous Crnojević printing house (printer of the first book in the Serbian language), which was led by Hieromonk Makarije (whose bust was also made by Gržetić in bronze in 1982).

 

Next to this monumental opus which he created over a decades-spanning career, Gržetić's main sculptural inspiration was "man and his destiny", so, as a result, his works often include figurative compositions dedicated to youth, dance and love. Furthermore, he was a great expert on anatomy, of both the human and animal body, allowing his sculptural works to particularly expressive and full of life (Photo 1). In his art, he worked in almost every type of material medium, such as bronze, copper, aluminum, stone and wood, the last of which he personally preferred. Whether it be his free-standing sculptures, reliefs or figures of both large and small sizes, Gržetić's work always touched upon metaphor and symbol, never missing an opportunity to hint at deeper meaning. The message and opus of the sculptor Gržetić is far richer than one could expect and it is yet to be explored in the realm of academic research in art history. Ante Gržetić exhibited his work not only within Yugoslavia, such as at Belgrade, Podgorica, Cetinje, Zagreb, Kraljevo, but he also took part in exhibitions abroad, such as at Alexandria, Rome, London, Warsaw, Budapest, Moscow, Kiev, Bari, Bucharest, Hannover, Frankfurt, among others. Meanwhile, his works can be seen on display at art museums in Belgrade, Banja Luka, Sombor, Cetinje, Dubrovnik, Hannover and in numerous private collections.

Ante Gržetić retired from sculpting in the 1980s and lived out his later years in Belgrade, where he passed away in 1992. His legacy and archive are managed by his sons Ivan and Branko.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, public art and other notable Yugoslav-era works by Ante Gržetić. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Monument works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Kragujevac, Serbia

Name: Monument to Pain & Defiance

Year: completed 1959

Kragujevac, Serbia

Name: Monument to Resistance & Freedom

Year: completed 1966

Monument works without profile pages:

Drvenik, Croatia

Gjilan/Gnjilane, Kosovo*

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1961

Location: 43°09'25.8"N, 17°14'46.0"E

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1963

Location: 42°27'43.4"N, 21°28'04.4"E

Peja/Peć, Kosovo*

Name: Monument to the Revolution

Year: completed 1972, destroyed 2012

Location: 42°39'17.9"N, 20°17'18.4"E

Beoci, Serbia

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1973

Location: 43°20'13.3"N, 20°38'11.3"E

Topola, Serbia

Name: Mothers & Daughters of Šumadija

Year: completed 1967

Location: 44°15'02.2"N, 20°40'56.8"E

Cetinje, Montenegro

Name: Monument to Ivan Crnojević

Year: completed 1982

Location: 42°23'15.7"N, 18°55'26.2"E

Vranje, Serbia

Name: Monument to the Revolution

Year: completed 1985

Location: 42°33'10.1"N 21°53'44.9"E

Selected Sources and More Information:

-The primary source for this profile are the records, documents and personal information obtained from the son of sculptor Ante Gržetić, Ivan Gržetić of Belgrade.

*NOTE: All mentions of the designation "Kosovo" on this page are made without prejudice to the position on status, and is in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and the International Court of Justice's Opinion of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.