Vienna Bronze Plaque, ca. 1910
It's a second-generation inheritance from my stepfather's mother, who came to this country and was employed as a domestic for some of the wealthy families in Duluth, Minnesota, during the 1920s. And this was given to her as a token of years of faithful work for them.
Well, it's something that's really quite unusual. As a matter of fact, I've never seen a relief like this. I have seen work by this factory. This was made in Austria. This is called a "Vienna bronze," and it was a studio that made bronzes starting in the late part of the 19th century, and it continued into the early 20th century. They were what we call cold-painted. Most bronzes have a patina that's put on them with various acids and chemicals and heats, and the patina is incorporated into the surface of the piece. This, on the other hand, is decorated with oil paints. And most of the work that was done by the Vienna bronze company were small figures-- dogs and cats-- but they also did a lot of Middle Eastern subjects. In the 19th century, the Middle East was very popular, especially among painters and sculptors. It was seen as a very romantic and exotic place. What's really extraordinary is the number of figures that are here. Wonderful details, brightly painted, in this great architectural setting where you get a real feeling for the depth. So even though the depth of this might only be an inch or so, it seems like it really goes back into space. This is really an extraordinary tour de force of the work of the Vienna bronze works. I would put an auction estimate between $6,000 and $8,000.
My goodness! You're kidding. Wow.
Yeah, very rare. Very desirable.
Well, that's impressive.
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