The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hans Hartmann-Maclean (1862-1946)(born Hans Rudolf Hartmann): "Christ on the Cross", Art Deco Bronze

 Last week I was cruising along in the various categories I monitor on eBay France and I stumbled upon something that caught my immediate attention. One of the French language categories I watch is the category of "Christ on the Cross" (in French, of course) and "Corpus Christi."  Honestly, you never know what some seller is going to list with a male nude attached to it. I have browsed this particular category in all the various European auction sites, especially in the Belgian, Dutch, French, Austrian and German sites. The great majority of works depicting the crucifixion are run-of-the-mill industrially made ho-hum depictions but on occasion you will come across something that knocks your socks off. I have seen exquisite but expensive ivory (which requires permits to import) and bone carvings of Christ but when I see something with a distinct artistic feel to it such as this bronze casting below, I have to take a second look at that work. My first impression of this bronze was: "Wow, wait a darn minute. What do we have here?" This work has that extra something that you do not see in the everyday depictions of the semi-nude Christ. To my eye this bronze has a distinct "Art Deco" feel to it and does not have that assembly line feel you see so often. This is literally the first signed work I think I have ever seen in this category. The French seller in Bordeaux obviously had no clue what he had because he was literally giving the thing away and he made no attempt to even list the item appropriately. At the steal of a price of 30 euros he was asking, I decided to look further into it and see if I could identify the "Hartmann" stamped in the edge of the cross. I programmed an automatic bid and went about my business. What I eventually found was a very good probability that the Hartmann signature on the bronze belongs to Hans Hartmann-Maclean (born Hans Rudolf Hartmann) (1862 Dresden - 1946), a German Sculptor who was active during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He produced many sculptural works and castings with religious themes, including some beautiful monumental church and civic works which were subsequently lost during WW II.  He studied at the Dresden Art Academy from 1879 to 1885 and guess who was one of his sculpture instructors? If you guessed Johannes Schilling, then you get the prize, a free goose. If you recall from a few weeks ago, I added a male nude drawing of Schilling as model by Philip Fleischer (1850-1930) to my collection (see the last photograph below). Hartmann worked in Schilling's studio from 1881 to 1885. In 1900 Hartmann began as a lecturer at the Dresden Art Academy and later retired as a professor. My bid took the auction and this bronze work will be heading into my collection. At that give-it-away price I could not help myself. When I get it in my hands, I will clean it up and post some better photographs.

Here are a few of Hartmann's works:

 Bronze panels inside a Lutheran Church by Hartmann

 The Lost Son


And here is the previously posted drawing of Johannes Schilling, Hartmann's instructor, which came into my collection several weeks ago:
Philip Fleischer (1850-1930) Standing Male Nude (The Model is Johannes Schilling - Instructor in Sculpture at the Dresden Art Academy)

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