For quite some time, Ruža Klein Meštrović was known to the expert and lay public as the first wife of Ivan Meštrović, the famous Croatian sculptor. Her part in forming Meštrović’s artistic expression had been acknowledged, but it was only a few years back, when in 2009 the exhibition entitled “Ruža Klein Meštrović – The Unknown Artist” in the Modern Gallery in Zagreb revealed that Ruža had a fairly ample artistic opus, that she herself was recognized as a talented artist.
Ruža Klein was born in 1883 in Donja Višnjica (Croatia), where her father, Maks (also known as Maximilian) Klein, supposedly ran the estate of count Drašković. Before the end of the century the Klein family moved to Vienna, and in 1903 Ruža met the promising but poor student of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Ivan Meštrović. Even though she originated from a Jewish family, they had a church wedding in 1907.
In cooperation with the Croatian Modern Gallery, Maribor Synagogue is preparing an exhibition presenting the life and artwork of Ruža Klein, married Meštrović, to the artistic and wider audience in Slovenia for the first time.