Bison bull, Werkstatte Hagenauer Vienna, ca. 1950, walnut wood and brass, marked
After World War II, Franz Hagenauer rented an empty joinery workshop in the Salzkammergut region in Austria’s countryside. A significant stock of various woods came along with the building. From 1945 until the late 1960s, very charming and deliciously humorous animal depictions were manufactured in Fuschl am See (until 1949) and in Vienna. These models were often made of domestic woods, more rarely of exotic ones.
This bison carved out of walnut wood also falls into this group of animal sculptures. With its typical head shape and prominent hump, the silhouette perfectly captures the characteristic features of a bison. The head lowered to attack reveals the bull’s powerful neck. The beautifully carved and polished woodwork is fully marked on the underside.
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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