Franz Bergman Bronze Figural Lamp, ca. 1910

Value (2010) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My great-aunt was a schoolteacher for many, many years, and every summer, she and some of her friends would take a tour someplace in the world and bring back collectibles, whatever they would find.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And she had it in her apartment.

APPRAISER:
When I'd go visit her, I would always admire it, and she asked me one day if I would like to have it, because the rest of the family thought it was junk.

APPRAISER:
(laughing): Yeah.

GUEST:
So that's why I have it. And I've always admired it.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
I have been told it was made in Vienna, Austria.

APPRAISER:
You're right, it is Austrian. It was made in Vienna. It's made of bronze, and here's the giveaway that it was made in Vienna down here on this label that was attached. This is likely the store that sold the piece, and then the Austrian for "Vienna." And with a bronze piece like this, one of the things that makes us all tingly when we see it are these marks here. That is a "B" within a stylized vase. And so that mark tells us, actually, the individual who made the piece.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And that person was Franz Bergman.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So what we have is a bronze by one of the best cold-painted bronze makers of his time. It's basically the Cadillac of Austrian cold-painted bronzes.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
It's enormous... (laughs) ...and it is also a lamp. We have it plugged in, and you can see the lighting that glows. And Bergman, his specialty was this sort of exoticism. And he did smaller scenes, things of sort of rug sellers under a palm tree or little oases. In this instance, he's just pulled out all the stops and made this enormous mosque form. It was always conceived to be a lamp. Sometimes we call them boudoir lamps, because they give that sort of intimate glow. I have seen another one.

GUEST:
Have you?

APPRAISER:
Almost identical. As an auction estimate, I would say $15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
(chuckling): Oh... Really?

APPRAISER:
It's a good thing. Are you sure that's...?

GUEST:
Yep, it's got everything going for it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Wishart Appraisals
Stuart, FL
Appraised value (2010)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Lamp
Material
Bronze
November 17, 2016: CORRECTION: Franz Bergman was the owner of the Bergman Foundry in Vienna but not a sculptor himself.

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