Nikolai Lieberich Bronze, ca. 1860
This piece came into my house in 2016. It was in my parents' house for a long time, and they brought the piece from my mother's parents' house, which was in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
And do you know how your grandparents acquired it? Were they collectors?
I don't know how, um, it came to be. I mean, it was something that my mom always had remembered being in her house.
This is from the 1860s. It's a Russian bronze by an artist named Nikolai Lieberich, who was born in 1828 in St. Petersburg. He was academically trained, and as you can see, he's a very skilled artist. He's important because he's part of a transition that was away from academic sculpture. So, before this, most academic sculpture was historical figures, literary figures, royalty, all of those kinds of things. So this marked a really big change, where they're depicting everyday people, everyday life. It's really extraordinary the way this horse is leaping forward, and you see all the hooves are off the ground, and these dogs are just full-out running. And then on top of that, it has incredibly minute details of everything. His expression, the fur on his hat. He even does the landscape. All these leaves on the bottom. He really captures the whole essence of what it meant to be on horseback as part of a hunt. It's very clearly signed here, and we have the foundry mark, and that's the Woerffel Foundry that was in St. Petersburg. It's written in Cyrillic. And if I turn it around, we'll get a nice idea of how dynamic the piece is, how it's modeled in three dimensions. It's meant to be seen from all sides. And it totally captures the movement and the excitement of the hunt. This was cast in separate pieces, and when we turn it over, we can see all these nuts.
And these are all hand-cut. And this is a period piece. There are many, many reproductions of these bronzes, and they do make recasts of these, but they don't come close in quality. The Russian market has been a little soft lately. In terms of the value, it's worth about $20,000 on a retail setting.
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