An erotically charged early 20th century Art Deco bronze group depicting the inspirationally beautiful 'Europa' draped erotically on the muscular back of a flower strewn bull representing the god 'Zeus'. The surface of the bronze with cold painted enamel and gilt colours, raised on a rectangular naturalistic base and a shaped rouge griotte marble plinth, signed Bruno Zach.
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Height: 31 cm
Width: 36 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition with light wear
Materials: Bronze & Marble
Book Ref: Art Deco Sculpture by Victor Arwas
Zach - Europa and the Bull
Europa, in Greek mythology, the daughter either of Phoenix or of Agenor, king of Phoenicia. The beauty of Europa inspired the love of Zeus, who approached her in the form of a white bull and carried her away from Phoenicia to Crete. There she bore Zeus three sons: Minos, ruler of Crete; Rhadamanthys, ruler of the Cyclades Islands; and, according to some legends, Sarpedon, ruler of Lycia. She later married Asterius, the king of Crete, who adopted her sons, and she was worshipped under the name of Hellotis in Crete, where the festival Hellotia was held in her honour.
Bruno Zach (Austrian, 1891 – 1945) – Bruno Zach was a prolific creator of tall, athletic, independent women in bronze and ivory. He depicted both the healthy outdoor pursuits, and also the dream mistresses of the demi monde of Berlin, Paris and Vienna between the wars. His bronze is occasionally patinated, most often cold painted. His use of ivory is spare and always well carved. His work was edited by several firms, including Argentor-Werke of Vienna the Broma Companie, S Altmann & Co, and Bergmann.
There is an obvious influence of eroticism and sensuality on Bruno Zach’s sculptures such as 'Europa and the Bull, there is no question that this was primarily affected by the night life of Berlin in the 1920’s. After World War I cabarets became extremely popular across Europe – and nowhere were they more popular than Germany. The Weimar government’s lifting of censorship saw German cabarets transform and flourish. Entertainment in the cabaret of Berlin was soon dominated by two themes: sex and politics. Stories, jokes, songs and dancing were laced with sexual innuendo. As the 1920s progressed this gave way to open displays of nudity, to the point where most German cabarets had at least some topless dancers. Prostitution was widely accepted and it became ‘de rigeur’ to use their services, whether one was male or female, and the Zach Riding Crop figure with its alluring charm had an undercurrent of lascivious intent.
This was the background in which Bruno Zach
found himself when he moved to Berlin from Austria in 1920 and he immersed himself into the decadent night life with gusto. It is understood that he used many prostitutes as models for his sculptures and fell in love with a particular young lady who took great pleasure in refusing his marriage proposals.
When one considers Bruno Zach’s work with an understanding of the influences that permeated his life at the time, the overt sexuality of his subject matter becomes more acceptable and indeed more interesting.
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