Art Deco Figures;
those small scale works of art produced for home decoration (and
originally sold in department stores and jewellers) that perfectly
capture the spirit of the age, with works by Demetre Chiparus,
Ferdinand Preiss, Josef
Colinet and many other sculptors of the period now being
sold in major auction houses throughout the world to collectors of
the style eager to own the figures that appear to be "frozen in
Josef Lorenzl (1892
Vienna - 1950 Vienna),
an Austrian sculptor and ceramicist of the Art Déco period.
Another prolific and very talented sculptor working in the
early part of the 20th Century is Josef Lorenzl (original spelling
Laurenzl) who started his career working at a foundry in the
Vienna Arsenal (a military storage complex located in the
south-eastern part of Vienna) where he learned the techniques of
bronze casting. Here Lorenzl produced many bronze and chryselephantine
(a Greek word for precious metals and bronze combined with ivory)
sculptures and also works in spelter.
Entranced by the female form, he became well known for his slim
dancers with their long legs and exuberant movement. Many of these
are "scarf dancers" and the name "Crejo”(a
painter and a friend) also appears on some bronze figures when
Crejo has painted enamel floral decoration on to the cold-painted
bronze finish of the clothing.
Due to the success of his bronze figures, Lorenzl was approached
by the firm of Goldscheiderand subsequently designed pottery figures for them, working
from a studio on the company grounds (he also broughtStefan Dakon into
the company). As with his chryselephantine pieces, his ceramic
works were in great demand and became the embodiment of the Art
Deco period. Famous among these is "The Butterfly Girl" modeled
after the famous dancer Niddy Impekoven who worked in the 1920s.
Many other works were inspired by photographic models and cabaret
and film stars of the 1920s and 30s.
Josef Lorenzl also worked for other Viennese firms which included
Hertwig and Keramos.
Josef Lorenzl's beautiful
sculptures are emblematic of the early 20th Century's
embracing of dynamism, futurism and modernity and the
testament to his design skills is that his Art
Deco figures are still decorating the homes of the
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