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JUN
01
2016

Franz Xavier Bergmann (1861–1936) Bronze

By mwilcox

Franz Bergman

This "Vienna Cold Painted Bronze" is by Franz Xavier Bergman (or Franz Xavier Bergmann) (1861–1936) . 'Cold-painted bronze' refers to pieces cast in Vienna and then decorated in several layers with so-called "Dust paint", the formula for the mix of this kind of paint has been lost to time. The painting was contracted out to local women working from home, a form of cottage industry often employed by potteries and Decorative Arts businesses of the period.

Bergman did not sculpt any of the pieces that bear his mark, he was the owner of a Viennese foundry who produced numerous patinated and cold-painted bronze Oriental, erotic and animal figures, his workshops employed many anonymous sculptors under temporary employment. His shop was just one of about 50 operating in Vienna during the turn of the 19th Century. Bergman is best know for his erotic pieces, poses of fully dressed young women in the Art Nouveau style, but with the push of a button or move of a lever revealed the Nude beneath.

The Bergman pieces were signed with either a letter 'B' in an urn-shaped cartouche or 'Nam Greb' – 'Bergman' in reverse. These marks were often used to disguise his identity on erotic works. The Bergmann foundry operated until 1930, closing due to poor sales in 1930, another victim of the Great Depression. The foundry was reopened by Robert Bergmann, son of Franz, and operated until his death in 1954, the remaining stock and molds then sold to Karl Fuhrmann & Co. Figures by Bergmann are highly collectible, an example comparable to the one above would retail in the $1500.00- $2000.00 range.