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Franz Xaver Bergmann (Austrian, 1861-1936)


Also known as:  Franz Xavier Bergman; Franz Xavier Bergmann; Franz Bergman; Franz Bergmann

Birth Place: Austria


Who was sculptor Franz Xaver Bergmann?

Franz Bergmann was a foundry owner who was best known for his patinated and cold painted bronze figures. These figures were often funny depictions of animals, erotic pieces, or inspired by Asian art. His work was known for his bold and brash use of color, instantly recognizable thanks to his trademark -- a letter B inside of an urn-shaped cartouche.

Building on the work of his father, Franz Bergmann, Franz Xaver Bergmann opened his foundry to a number of semi-anonymous sculptors. During the years it was active (from about 1860-1930), it became one of the best-known foundries in the world. Many of Europe’s wealthiest and most prestigious families had Bergmann pieces in their home. The Foundry closed in the 1930s, largely because of the Great Depression, but was re-opened by Bergmann’s son, Robert and continued operating until his death in 1954. 

What kind of art does Franz Xaver Bergmann make?

Bergmann was not a sculptor, a fact that many historians miss. His work was largely focused on fostering the art of others and developing talent. Bergmann’s foundry became world-famous during his lifetime, and many of his pieces made it around the globe. Indeed, this lasting commercial success has translated into post-humous success. There is a large and storied history with Bergmann pieces at auction. They are well-liked because of their unique humor, erotic nature, and artistic excellence. . 

How did Franz Xaver Bergmann get started?

Franz Bergmann inherited his father’s foundry in 1900. During this time the increased demand from the public for his work necessitated the opening of another foundry in Vienna. His early bronzes were based on designs from his father’s workshop, though the younger Bergmann quickly employed others to create new designs that fit modern tastes. It was around then that Bergmann moved the foundry to begin doing cold painted bronze, meaning that a cast piece would be decorated in several layers of dust paint. That piece would then not be fired (which is why it was called “cold painted”) and as such retained brilliant colors. 

How much are Franz Xaver Bergmann’s sculptures worth?

Franz Xaver Bergmann sculptures are worth thousands of dollars. You can find smaller pieces for around a thousand dollars, but for larger pieces that number can trend as high as $45,000. The largest sales price ever commanded for a Bergmann piece is for Ottoman Princess Riding an Elephant, a Table Lamp (N/A) which sold for $50,000 in 2009. The piece is evocative and exhibits many notable Bergmann trademarks. It is brilliantly painted, inspired by Asia, and has retained its beauty for over a hundred years. It sold for $20,000 more than its high estimate

Where to buy Franz Xavier Bergmann sculptures for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Franz Xaver Bergmann sculptures?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.

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