Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bronze Mosque Lamps by Franz Bergman

I recently saw an Antique Roadshow episode from last year that appraised a tall metal replica of a mosque building. Made in Vienna, Austria and sometimes called a boudoir lamp, they were made by Franz Bergman. The cold-painted bronze Mosque, circa 1900, is a figural lamp with glass windows, tent canopy, and man on colorful rug praying near the door. Two lights are inside, one in the domed tower, one behind the curtain. It measures 28 1/2''h., the base is 9 1/2'' x 7 1/2''. Die stamped on the base and the building with a B in a vase. I found a few more with different designs including a domed “Prayer at the mosque” painted bronze sculpture. Another lamp is by Anton Chotka and also a cold-painted bronze Mosque lamp circa 1900.  This one is signed CHOTKA and stands 13in (33cm); width 7in (17.9cm); depth 8 3/8in (21.4cm). Franz Xaver Bergman (1861–1936) was the owner of a Viennese foundry who produced numerous patinated and cold-painted bronze human, erotic and animal figures, the latter often humanized or whimsical, humorous objects d'art. Noted for his detailed and colorful work, and signing either a 'B' in an urn-shaped cartouche or 'Nam Greb' - 'Bergman' in reverse. These marks were used to disguise his identity on erotic works. Bergman inherited the small bronze company from his father and opened a new foundry in 1900. Many of the bronzes from the 1900s were still based on designs from his father’s workshop. He was not a sculptor himself as often described wrongfully. There were many anonymous sculptors, hired temporarily by the workshops. At the turn of the 19th/20th Century there were about fifty workshops producing Vienna Bronzes. 'Cold painted bronze' refers to pieces cast in Vienna and then decorated in several layers with so called dust paint; the know-how for the mix of this kind of paint has been lost. The color was not fired hence "cold painted." The painting was carried out mainly by women working at home, a typical cottage industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That mosque lamp is pretty cool. I'm just saying that because I own one! The top part of the "minbar" on mine is long gone, looks like it broke off. An I think that the inspiration for this piece was the "Al-Aqsa" mosque in Jerusalem - it looks very similar.

Thanks for posting this piece.

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