An erotic Austrian cold painted bronze figure entitled ‘Egyptian Mummy’ by Franz Bergman – of an Egyptian sarcophagus opening to reveal a naked beauty with excellent colour and very fine hand finished detail, signed with the Bergman ‘B’ in an amphora vase and Nam Greb
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Height: 18 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Materials: Cold Painted Bronze
Book Ref: Antique Vienna Bronzes by Joseph Zobel
From the 17th Century onwards it was customary for the young Victorian gentleman to go on the obligatory tour of the East – the Grand Tour – as an educational rite of passage. Visiting countries and experiencing customs they had only ever heard about in stories, these young men were keen to show their families mementos of their experience, especially the lavish subjects of the Middle Eastern Arab world like the Egyptian mummy. The return trip would usually include a visit to Vienna, and here the ‘souvenir’ shops supplied a plethora of beautifully crafted sculptures with an Orientalist Arab flavour. These were often acquired to show their friends and families images of their travels. Bergman was noted for his detailed and colourful work and he produced a huge number of Orientalist subjects to cater for this market.
Look out for Bergman’s distinctive signature marks: a ‘B’ in a vase shape and ‘Nam Greb’. This latter, which reads ‘Bergman’ in reverse, was often used on his more erotic pieces, like the Egyptian mummy which were not to the taste of his more conservative clients or his family. These include sensuous poses of young women in the Orientalist style, sometimes the erotic nature of the subject was disguised by a covering that revealed all when a button was pushed or a lever moved. Carefully sculpted animals, such as owls, could often be opened to reveal an erotic female figure inside.
For a further selection of sculptures by this artist click on Franz Bergman Sculptures