This morning I was browsing auction house sites in Germany and I stumbled upon this beautiful little utilitarian bronze card holder by an unknown (to me) German artist by the name of P. Leuschner. I have been unable to find any biographic information on the artist but the one thing that struck me was the typical Symbolist design of the piece and the subject matter, a nude boy playing with a slug on a lilypad. There is some damage to the piece but it is still worthy of collecting. The subject matter of a young nude ephebe fits right into a sub-section of the Symbolist movement (mid-1850's to about 1900) called "The Cult of the Ephebe." The artistic members of this little known group specialized in depicting the nude ephebe (nude boy) as a symbol of innocence and awakening.
**** Addendum: (9/14/11) I just learned that the bid I placed on this little bronze at Von Zegen Kunstauktionen, Bonn, Germany, won the auction. It looks as if this nice little bronze work will be joining my collection sometime in the near future.