Amusing and slightly erotic Orientalist styled cold painted bronze figure of a young harem beauty holding aloft a flaming torch as she walks down some rug strewn steps, covering her modesty with a tassle fringed rug this is hinged and opens to reveal her seductive naked body. The bronze with fabulous naturalistic golden and enamel colour and good detail. Signed to back of bronze plinth with the Bergman ‘B’ and ‘Nam Greb’.
Bergman was noted for his detailed and colourful work. He signed with the letter ‘B’ in an urn-shaped cartouche and/or ‘Nam Greb’ – ‘Bergman’ in reverse. These marks were used to disguise his identity on erotic works.
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 walking elephant, 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.
Erotic Subjects – Torch Bearer
Bergman was noted for his detailed and colourful work. 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, 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.
Animal figures can, occasionally, be found for a few hundred pounds, though sculptures in pristine condition and larger figures can be worth several thousand pounds. Value is affected by condition. The cold painted decoration is relatively easy to damage and worn Enamel will reduce value considerably. Restoration can also reduce the value considerably, especially when done in a non-sympathetic manner.
For a further selection of sculptures by this artist click on Franz Bergman Sculptures
- £ 4,850
- £ 2,850
- £ 1,750
- £ 1,350
- £ 5,500
- £ 8,750
- £ 3,850
- £ 2,850
- £ 795
- £ 2,950