This is a fabulous miniature orchestra, by the renowned Franz Xaver Bergmann. This is from my personal collection of Vienna Bronze orchestras. It has four pieces, with five black musicians. These are true rarities since the painting is extremely difficult. They had to use special small brushes, sometimes with just one hair and they painted them under a strong magnifying glass. These bronzes are very much sought after and you do not find the authentic ones very often.
This orchestra is a bit different than most. It has the pianist and the violinist together as one piece. It has a saxophone and a trombone, and a drummer.
SIZE: The two tallest pieces are 1 1/4". The others a bit shorter.
CONDITION: Good with expected paint losses. Original paint, no restoration, no repairs, no touch ups! The overall condition is as you would expect from an object of substantial age that has been displayed/handled/used, usually over the lifetimes of several owners.
MARKS: Fleur-de-lis and AUSTRIA.
CIRCA: 1900 - 1910.
This is one of the rare antique cold painted Vienna or Wiener Bronze cast in the traditional lost wax technique (cire perdue) by FRANZ XAVER BERGMANN, the renowned workshop which created great pieces with the highest quality level and the highest collectors and resale value!
Franz Xaver Bergmann (1861–1936) was the owner of a Viennese foundry who produced numerous patinated and cold-painted bronze Oriental, erotic and animal figures, the latter often humanized or whimsical, humorous objects d'art. Noted for his detailed and colorful work, and signing either a 'B' in an urn-shaped cartouche or 'Nam Greb' - 'Bergman' in reverse. A fleur-de-lis is also a Bergmann mark. These marks were used to disguise his identity on erotic works.
His father Franz Bergmann was a professional chaser from Gablonz/Bohemia who came to Vienna and founded a small bronze factory in 1860. His son Franz Xaver Bergmann (1861 – 1936) inherited the company and opened a new foundry in 1900. Many of the bronzes from the 1900s were still based on designs from his fathers workshop.
He was not a sculptor himself as often described wrongfully. There were many anonymous sculptors, hired temporarily by the workshops. At the turn of the 19th/20th Century there were about fifty workshops producing Vienna Bronzes.
'Cold painted bronze' refers to pieces cast in Vienna and then decorated in several layers with so called dust paint; the know-how for the mix of this kind of paint has been lost. The color was not fired hence "cold painted". The painting was carried out mainly by women working at home, a typical cottage industry.
A well-known New York shop (and catalog) are still offering modern knock-offs made marked FBW and they charge much more, even though the quality is not comparable, painted with acrylic colors (the old recipe is lost) with less detail and extremely expensive for a reproduction of less quality.
Their margin must be enormous if you compare with our offers. Please remember that Bergmann is spelled with a "g" and TWO "n"s!
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