Antun Augustinčić (Klanjec, 4th May 1900 – Zagreb, 10th May 1979) was a Croatian sculptor, art pedagogue, and academician. Next to Ivan Meštrović and Fran Kršinić he was certainly the most important Croatian sculptor of the 20th century. He is globally known for his monuments carried out around the world, such as Miner from Geneva (in front of the International labour office), Apostol of peace – in front of United Nations building in New York, Monument to the victims of Fascism in Addis Ababa, and the monument to the peasants’ revolt in Stubica.
Antun Augustinčić was born in Klanjec in 1900. He studied sculpture from 1918 on what was then the College of arts and crafts in Zagreb at Rudolf Valdec and Robert Frangeš, and when it was turned into Royal Academy for arts and crafts in 1922 he continues his study at Ivan Meštrović.
After graduation in 1924 he goes to Prag, on a scholarship of the French government, and improves himself further at the École des Arts décoratifs and Académie des Beaux-Arts. In sculpture his permanent role models will remain classical sculptors: Donatello, Michelangelo and Bourdelle. In Paris he began to exhibit; the first time in 1925 at the Salon of French artists, and the second time in 1926 at the Salon of independent. The stay in Paris will remain in Augustinčić’s biography as one of the crucial moments in development of the young sculptor.
After returning to Zagreb he draws and exhibits graphics (1926 in Zagreb and 1927 in Lavov and Zagreb). For the first time he exhibits independently his sculptures in the Salon Galić in Split. Augustinčić is one of the founders of the art group Zemlja (Earth) – 1929, he acted as a vice-president for a while. With the group Zemlja he exhibits in 1929, 1931 and 1932 in Zagreb, and in 1931 in Paris, he leaves the group in 1933. At the same time he exhibits in Barcelona (1929), London and Belgrade (1930).
Since the 1930s Augustinčić starts to work on at that time very profitable public monuments, and participates and wins often numerous public tenders for monuments around the world, acquires the reputation of a trusted master of horseman figures. Even before World War II Augustinčić gained the status of the national sculptor, in the eyes of his colleagues and art public.
As he met Rodin, Augustinčić leaves academicism and searches for his own style and expression in a free modelling and restless Rodin’s form. He finds it between Meštrović’s monumentality and Krišnić’s lyrical form. Portraits of Matošić, Šnajder, Iveković, Štampar, Broz and Ružička are only few of those classic works of the portrait plastics, while his numerous figurative sculptures, such as Wearing of wounded and many female acts, are scattered throughout world’s museums and galleries.
But most of them are kept in the Gallery of Antun Augustinčić in his home town Klanjec, where he left in heritage the largest number of his works, sketches and models for numerous monuments. In the contract from 1970 he donated all his works to his hometown Klanjec, where in 1976 Gallery of Antun Augustinčić opened.