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Lot 38: Carl Kauba, Lamp with Automata & Vienna Bronze Erotica, 1920s
April 4, 2014
Berlin, GermanyLive Auction
Bronze, brass and metal patinated; white alabaster; opalescent glass shade
Austria, around 1920
Carl Kauba (1865-1922) - Viennese sculptor
Verso signed on the plinth 'C. Kauba'
Lamp with automata
The beauty revels her hidden secret when opening the gown
Total dimensions: 49.5 x 20 x 21 cm; bronze sculpture 17 x 14 x 7 cm (height x width x depth)
Provenance: from the former sample stock of the Bergmann factory in Vienna
Such original mechanic erotica by the famous Austrian sculptor Carl Kauba are becoming more rare and are popular collectors' items
This extravagantly crafted lamp with automata originates from the famous Austrian sculptor Carl Kauba, who crated many designs for the bronze foundry Bergmann. Figural table lamps were popular furniture at these times. This particular lamp is adorned with the bronze figurine of a hidden beauty. When opening the ribbon of the gown of the lady her cape opens in slow motion with an inserted mechanism, revealing her secret.
The bronze is in good condition with slight traces of wear, for example at the edges of the marble applications. It is signed at the plinth in the cast 'C. Kauba'. The total dimensions, including the plinth, are 49.5 x 20 x 21 cm and the bronze sculpture measures 17 x 14 x 7 cm (height x width x depth). The lamp has got an old plug. We do not guarantee functionality of the lamp.
The term 'Vienna Bronze' refers to very fine cast bronzes from the period of around 1880 to 1930. The very naturalistic small sculptures depict human figures, often with exotic features, humans and animals, humorous illustrations as well as erotica. The bronzes were so fashionable that there were 80 companies in Vienna, which concentrated on these products. A large number of significant artistic works was melted during the world wars to meet the metal needs of the artillery, thus the bronzes are now not only treasures but rare collectibles. The most famous manufacturer of Vienna Bronzes was the Manufactory Bergmann.
Carl Kauba (1865-1922)
The Austrian sculptor Carl Kauba attended the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Laufenberg, Waschmann and Schwartz. He later continued his education in Paris. Kauba's polychrome, very detailed and realistic sculptures make him one of the leading 'Viennese bronze' artists. Fascinated by the adventure novels by the German author Karl May (1842-1912), his expressive illustrations mostly show Wild West motifs, like cowboys and Native Americans. His representation of American Indian headdresses, weapons and costumes were rendered with great attention to detail. There is no evidence that Kauba himself has ever been to America. Carl Kauba personally directed the casting of his clay models. Most bronzes from the years 1895 to 1912 were produced for the U.S. market, where they were offered in New York until the 1950s. Today collectors rank Kauba in the same league as Frederic Remington (1961-1909) and Charles Russell (1864-1926), the great portrayers of the American West.