04 December 2022

Cold Painted Cats

After so many years of posts inspired by Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), various themes eventually repeat. The item pictured below was titled 'Austrian cold painted cats playing chess by Bergman', and sold for GBP 625.00 ('approximately US $763.50'), 'Best offer accepted'. Ranked between two items of similar value, the real final price was probably around $740.

We've seen cats, as in Cats Attacking Royalty (March 2019), and we've seen bronzes, as in Foxy Chess (July 2022; 'Fritz Bermann'). Why bronzes? Because the phrase 'cold painted' is shorthand to the experts for 'cold painted bronze'.

The description simply repeated the title and added 'with mark to back of chair'. The seller had a web site with an artist's page Franz Xavier Bergman. It said,

Born in 1861 in Vienna, Austria, he initially inherited a bronze factory from his father and later opened his own foundry. Bergman died in 1936 in Vienna, Bergman produced many patina- and cold-painted bronze sculptures of erotic figures, animals, Orientalist scenes, and mythological creatures. Bronzes cast in the Bergman foundry are normally stamped with a capital 'B' that is placed in a twin handled vase. He signed many of the erotic works produced by his foundry with the pseudonym Nam Greb.

At the end of the 'Foxy Chess' post, which featured a 'Fritz Bermann Vienna Austria Cold Painted Bronze', I noted,

The foxes also had a 'Jug-Mark' with a 'B' in the center. Fritz Bermann and Franz Bergmann, both of Vienna, both making chess bronzes -- I should look deeper into it, but not today; maybe next time.

This post is the 'next time' and I don't want to kick the can down the road again. Let's assume that 'twin handled vase' and 'jug', both with a capital 'B', refer to the same mark. It follows that 'Franz [Xavier] Bergman' (one 'n') and 'Franz Bergmann' (two 'n's) both refer to the same person.

That leaves Fritz Bermann. Here I found several examples of an 'FBW' mark standing for 'Fritz Bermann Wien [i.e. Vienna]'. That means Franz Bergman and Fritz Bermann, both of Vienna, were two different artists. As for 'cold painted bronze', there are enough explanations on the web that I don't have to repeat any of them. Ignorance is no longer an option.

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