Dušan Džamonja was born on January 31, 1928, in Strumica, formerly part of Yugoslavia. In 1945 he enrolled in the Fine Art Academy of Zagreb, where he studied sculpture under Vanja Radauš and Fran Kršinić and graduated alongside Antun Augustincic in 1951. The same year he exhibited for the first time in Opatija and for the following two years worked at the Kršinić workshop, after which he decided to open his own studio in Zagreb and focus primarily on drawing and sculpture. In 1954 he held his first solo exhibition at the ULUH-a salon. Džamonja’s first wooden sculptures were figurative, but he gradually moved towards abstraction through a simplification of forms. This development was partly due to the influence of Henry Moore’s work.
From 1957 onward, and in order to express himself more freely, the artist started investigating the use of such diverse media as nails and glass. He garnered international recognition after participating in the 1960 Venice Biennale, and there followed numerous exhibitions abroad. At this time the artist became interested in geometric forms, especially circles and ovals, and after 1967 he started producing a tapestry series using metal wire.
Džamonja also received many public commissions to create memorials for victims of the partisan resistance and those who suffered in concentration camps. The Barletta Ossuary, near Ban, was finished in 1970, and his monument in memory of the battle of Kozara was completed in 1972. These were both conceived on an architectural scale. Džamonja has also created a sculpture park in Vrsar and has taken part in many solo and group exhibitions, including the Biennale des Jeunes, Paris; the São Paulo Bienal; and the San Marino Biennial. Among the many honors he has received, the artist was awarded the Rembrandt Prize from the Goethe Foundation, Basel, in 1977. His work is held in museum collections worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery, London. The artist died in Zagreb on January 14, 2009.