Wooden figurine standing African woman, Werkstatte Hagenauer Vienna, circa 1935, noble wood and brass, marked
Starting with the 1930s, Werkstatte Hagenauer manufactured statuettes in African style. This figurine of a standing African woman is a beautiful example.
In a naturally confident posture she stands in front of us, her arms folded behind her back. She radiates effortless beauty, both en-face and in profile, her S-shaped silhouette emphasizing her grace. The turban-like headdress further extending her elegant neck line.
In this fine carving – very rare to find in Hagenauer sculptures – two types of wood are combined. Her upper body is carved from walnut, a material very suitable for the dark incarnate. The skirt and headscarf she is wearing are made of beautifully grained rosewood. Only her feet and jewelry are made of metal.
The design in this rarely executed statuette is characterized by a strongly reduced form. Elegantly stylized features of the exotic sculpture and excellently crafted details allow us to understand why Werkstatte Hagenauer was so successful with its African sculptures.
Werkstätte Hagenauer – stylistic evolution and importance
Today, the Werkstatte Hagenauer is rightfully among the most important Austrian Arts & Crafts manufacturers of the 20th century. The clear, strict formal language combined with dynamic poses and the usage of brass, nickel-plated, patinated or bare, along with copper, alpaca and exotic wood shows a high level of recognition.
However, it took the siblings Karl and Franz Hagenauer quite some time until they developed their own unique style. Karl and Franz both attended the Vienna School of Arts & Crafts and studied under Josef Hoffmann, Oskar Strnad, Anton Hanak and Dagobert Peche.
Until the closure of the Werkstatte Hagenauer on December 30, 1987, art objects of outstanding quality were still being produced. The siblings Karl and Franz Hagenauer strongly contributed in coining the term „design“ through their legacy and are surely among the most influential Austrian artists of the 20th century.
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