top of page

Designers & Creators Directory

Jovan Soldatović

(YO-van SOL-dah-toh-vich)

Birthplace: Čerević, Serbia (then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia)

Heritage: Serbian

Date born: November 26th 1920

Date of death: November 7th, 2005

Education: University of Belgrade [1953]


Jovan Soldatović was born in the small Srem village of Čerević in present-day Serbia in 1920 (then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). One of five children, Soldatović came from a simple family of tradespeople, with his father being a shoemaker. He was interested in sculpture at a young age, after graduating from high school in Novi Sad and completing his Reserve Officer's training in Maribor, Slovenia, Soldatović started attending the University of Belgrade in 1940, studying architecture in the Faculty of Engineering. However, the war interrupts his studies and he returns to Novi Sad. As the war begins to take over the Serbian region in the spring of 1941, Soldatović joins the 17th Vinkovci Regiment, where he fought all across the Srem and parts of Bosnia. Even during the war, Soldatović was able to keep his focus on the arts, as he worked for a time General Staff of Vojvodina doing artistic work developing propaganda posters and leaflets.

Immediately after the war, Soldatović and his wife Milom Mrazović have their first child, Srđan, in 1946. Also during this time he goes back to the University of Belgrade, where he begins to study sculpture under the famous artist Toma Rosandić. After graduating, he begins to teach sculpture at a high school in Novi Sad in 1953. Just a few years later in 1955 Soldatović puts on his first solo sculpture exhibition in Novi Sad during the Salon 55 at the Youth Tribune, at which point he goes on to participate in a number of world sculpture exhibitions across Europe over the next few years. As a result of this inspiration, in 1957, he and a group of his artistic colleagues in Novi Sad and Belgrade (including Ana Bešlić [profile page], Aleksandar Zarin, Jovan Kratohvil [profile page], Olga Jančić, among others) formed an art collective known as "Space 8/Prostor 8", which had a goal of creating bold modern art that cultivated a "symbiosis of sculpture, architecture and its surroundings" in a free public location available to those who might not be normal gallery visitors. It was during this collaborative effort that Space 8 organized their first major exhibition in May of 1958, located at Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad (with a follow-up exhibition a few months late in September of 1958 at Tašmajdan Park in Belgrade (Photo 1)). It was at these exhibitions where Soldatović unveiled his sculpture titled "Family", which went on to be highly acclaimed by art critics and was later acquired by the city of Novi Sad in 1971 to use as their monument to the victims of the Novi Sad Raids of WWII.


Photo 1: Soldatović's sculpture 'Family' at Tašmajdan Park in Belgrade. 1958


Photo 2: A photo of the 2018 Golden Gazelle Award [source]

Meanwhile, another significant event for Soldatović was the government of Yugoslavia inviting him to exhibit several of his sculptural works at the 1958 World Expo in Brussels, Belgium, a gesture that not only solidified his place as one of the most eminent sculptors in the country but it also gave him a unique world stage upon to display his work. He exhibits his work at even further international exhibitions in the late 1950s and early 60s, such as at Alexandria, Antwerp and Paris. In yet another prestigious honor, one of Soldatović's wildlife sculptures was used in 1961 as the basis for the trophy for the Golden Gazelle Awards, which is a Belgrade ceremonial event that honors businesses and industry across the region. The trophy is still used up to the present day (Photo 2). Then, in the early 1960s, Soldatović wins a design competition for a memorial sculpture honoring the Novi Sad Raids in Žabalj, Serbia. This work, which he completed in 1962, was composed of three forboding bronze figures standing over the marshland. This work was so popular that it was reported on the frontpage of the Novi Sad Tribune. This memorial work cements Soldatović's reputation as a premier creator of memorial sculpture and monumental art. The style that Soldatović executes his work in is decidedly figurative, but with a very surrealistic and imaginative approach that exaggerates and reduces aspects the human form to a degree in which they almost become abstract. In addition to figurative work, Soldatović completed a small number of concrete abstract works as well, such as the monument to the Novi Sad Raid at Titel, Serbia.

Three additional significant moments in Soldatović's career during the 1960s to mention are his 'Family' sculpture being used for the official Yugoslavia "Year of Human Rights" postage stamp in 1968, while during the same time period, Tito gifts one of Soldatović's statues to the United Nations in New York and, at the same time, Tito also installs several of his statues at his personal hunting lodge in Karađorđevo, Serbia. Meanwhile, over the following years, Soldatović creates numerous memorial sculptures honoring the events of WWII, predominately creating them in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. In 1979 he donates three smaller sculptural works to Šumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac for installation around the museum which honors the 1941 massacre which occurred there. In the mid-1980s, Soldatović began working on a memorial solution for the Sremski Front battleground. Finally opened in 1988, the Sremski Front Memorial consisted of a sunken circular red-brick museum with an approach of red brick walls bearing the names of fallen soldiers from the front. While this work was most certainly the grandest and most ambitious of his career, the creation of the work became controversial because the project was originally awarded to famous sculptor Dušan Džamonja, but that award was later rescinded and instead given to Soldatović. As it is stated on the bio page of Soldatović's official website in relation to this drama (translated here into English): "Many resented Soldatović for accepting to undertake this project, and almost the entire duration of that work was marked by fierce quarrels and controversies in the Yugoslav press at the time."


Photo 3: Soldatović in his older years posing in front of many of his artworks [source]

In his late life, Soldatović continued to work, even being so bold as to travel to his studio by boat during the NATO bombings of Novi Sad in 1999. Furthermore, his fame and recognition stretched even into his old age, with the President of the Assembly of Vojvodina even attending his 80th birthday celebration in 2001. Over his long five-decade career, Soldatović created hundreds of sculptures and was recognized for his efforts with countless awards and accolades (Photo 3), such as the July 7th Award, the Order of Merit for the People and the Forum Award for Fine Arts. Even in his final year, Soldatović continued to put on exhibitions for the public. Soldatović passed away in 2005 in Novi Sad and was buried at a cemetery in his hometown of Čerević. Also in Čerević a permanent museum exhibition of the life, career and sculptural works of Soldatović can be found at the Homeland Museum of Čerević.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, cultural centers and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Jovan Soldatović. 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.

Works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Titel, SRB


Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism

Year: completed 1974

Žabalj, SRB


Name: "Crna Ćuprija" Memorial Complex

Year: completed 1962

Adaševci, SRB

Sremski Front.jpg

Name: Sremski Front Memorial

Year: completed 1988

Stejanovci, SRB

Stejanovci, serbia.jpg

Name: The "Bridge of Exchange" Monument

Year: completed 1971

Works without profile pages:

Novi Sad, SRB

Novi Sad.jpg

Name: "The Family" Mon. to the Novi Sad Raid

Year: completed 1971

Location: N45°15'07.9", E19°51'21.2"

Belgrade, SRB

1 Cw7H9bNxPnSVfMP3xzw6Rw.jpeg

Name: "Don Quixote" at Tašmajdan Park

Year: completed 1958

Location: N44°48'34.3", E20°28'14.7"

Surduk, SRB


Name: The Lighthouse on the Danube

Year: completed 1961

Location: N45°04'20.2", E20°19'47.4"

Sremski Karlovci, SRB

Branko Radičević on Stražilov, 1972-1.JPG

Name: Monument to Branko Radičević

Year: completed 1972

Location: N45°10'08.4", E19°55'02.0"

Čurug, SRB


Name: Memorial to 1942 Raid Victims

Year: completed 1970s?

Location: N45°31'05.5", E20°06'15.5"

Neštin, SRB


Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism

Year: completed ???

Location: N45°13'41.2", E19°27'08.9"

Belgrade, SRB

Đuro Jakšić, Belgrade, 1982.jpg

Name: Monument to Đuro Jakšić

Year: completed 1982

Location: N44°49'04.0", E20°27'51.6"E

Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia

Poljub - Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, 1982 [46.503839, 15.077467].jpg

Name: "The Kiss/Poljub"

Year: completed 1982

Location: 46°30'12.9"N, 15°04'38.7"E

Kragujevac, SRB


Name: "The Judges" Monument

Year: completed 1979

Location: N44°01'15.7", E20°53'41.2"

Novi Sad, SRB


Name: "Deer Fighting" at Petrovaradin Fortress

Year: completed 1965

Location: N45°15'05.6", E19°51'46.9"

Novi Sad, SRB

Đuro Jakšić, novi sad, 1982.jpg

Name: Monument to Đuro Jakšić

Year: completed 1982

Location: N45°15'16.0", E19°51'01.9"

Pačir, SRB

Pacir, Serbia-2.jpg

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: ???

Location: N45°53'52.8", E19°26'19.1"

bottom of page