Antique Sculpture



Late 19th/early 20th Century Vienna Bronze Sculpture

Vienna cold painted bronze sculpture – in the late 19th Century a number of bronze foundries situated in Vienna and the Austrian-Bohemian border began to specialise in the technique of ‘cold painted’ processes.

This naturalistic finish was created by painting the raw bronze with several layers of special and secretive enamel colours called ‘dust paints’, which resulted in fine life like studies of the various models and sculptures.

This process was often applied when the cast was still warm, the natural shrinkage on cooling adding to the permanency of the colour as it annealed the paint firmly into the metal. As the colour was not ‘fired’ this process is referred to as ‘cold painted’.


Celebrated for his great attention to detail and wonderful vibrant colours, Franz Xavier Bergman (1861-1936) is, arguably, the most famous of the Viennese cold-painted bronze artists, delighting in producing Oriental and animal subjects, including the seated kingfisher rabbits, foxes and horses.

His father, also Franz Bergman (1838–1894), was a professional chaser (embosser) from Gablonz, Austria who came to Vienna and founded a small bronze factory in 1860. Franz Xavier inherited the company and opened a new foundry in 1900. There he created numerous cold painted (so named because the numerous layers of polychrome paint, applied to the bronze, were not fired to fix them to the metal) figures. Many other bronzes were still based on designs by Franz Bergman, the elder.referred to as ‘cold painted’.



An animalier is an artist, mainly from the 19th century, who specializes in, or is known for, skill in the realistic portrayal of animals. Although the work may be in any genre or format, the term is most often applied to sculptors of the French schools who captured the true characters of their subjects in a way that had previously been considered unworthy of true art.

Animalier as a collective plural noun, or animalier bronzes, it is a term in antiques for bronze sculptures of animals, of which large numbers were produced, primarily in 19th century France and to a lesser extent elsewhere in continental Europe.

Although many earlier examples can be found, animalier sculpture became more popular, and reputable, in early 19th century Paris with the works of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875) for whom the term was coined and who became the ‘Father of the Animaliers School’ and Pierre Jules Mêne considered the finest realist sculptor of the era. By the mid-century, a taste for animal subjects was very widespread among all sections of the middle-classes.



The 19th Century Grand Tour of Europe stimulated a fascination in the ancient world for those who undertook it, particularly among those who had visited on-going excavations and witnessed antiquities emerging from tombs.

The European bronze foundries produced copies of classical masterpieces that were designed to remind their clients of such things, examples of the ‘old civilisations’ which, paradoxically, made them into novelties. These souvenirs answered the 19th Century craze for the antique which expressed itself in many ways.



From the 1880s until the First World War, western Europe and the United States witnessed the development of Art Nouveau (“New Art”). Taking inspiration from aspects of the natural world, Art Nouveau influenced art and architecture especially in the applied arts, sculpture work, and illustration. Sinuous lines and “whiplash” curves were derived, from botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms such as those by German biologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919) in Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature, 1899).

Other publications, including Floriated Ornament (1849) by Gothic Revivalist Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) and The Grammar of Ornament (1856) by British architect and theorist Owen Jones (1809–1874), advocated nature as the primary source of inspiration for a generation of artists seeking to break away from past styles. The unfolding of Art Nouveau’s flowing line may be understood as a metaphor for the freedom and release sought by its practitioners and admirers from the weight of artistic tradition and critical expectations.



Exemplified by the geometric designs of famous New York buildings such as the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Centre, Art Deco was the most fashionable international design movement in modern art from 1925 until the 1940s.

Like the earlier Arts and Crafts Movement, as well as the curvilinear style of design known as Art Nouveau, as well as the German Bauhaus design school concept, Art Deco embraced all types of art, including crafts as well as fine arts. It was applied to decorative art like interior design, furniture, jewellery, textiles, fashion and industrial design, as well as to the applied art of architecture and the visual arts of painting, sculpture and graphics.

The Art Deco style, which above all reflected modern technology, was characterized by smooth lines, geometric shapes, streamlined forms and bright, sometimes garish colours. Initially a luxury style (a reaction against the austerity imposed by World War I) employing costly materials like silver, bronze, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer, after the Depression it also used cheaper and mass-produced materials like chrome, plastics, and other industrial items catering to the growing middle class taste for a design style that was elegant, glamorous and functional.


Modern Sculpture ….. in these days of changing ways, so called liberated days …….. we have noticed a stronger demand for good contemporary artists and now have pleasure in including a new category to incorporate this exciting diversification. Over time we shall include a number of emerging artists, carefully chosen for their enigmatic and thoughtful artistic interpretations, and, hopefully, catch them on the ascendance before their works enjoy a well-deserved increase in value.

Our most popular modern artists include Steve Winterburn, Lucianne Lassalle and Nick Bibby

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