She was advertised as a rare 1920’s bronze and Carrara marble bust.
A new addition for my library arrived today. I’ve been slowly collecting decorative objects for my front two rooms. This piece had been on my wish list for quite some time, because I had my doubts as to whether she would fit in. Most of my collected art is contemporary, but lately I’ve been drawn to antique works in sculpture and painting. It could very well be a phase, but I’m pretty sure I will never tire of these recent purchases. They’re here to stay, and I have plenty of room for more, whether it be fresh contemporary art that some of my guests may find disturbing or another dusty relic from a previous millennium.
The artist is Professor Otto Poertzel (1876 — 1963), who signed this piece along with RuM for Rosenthal und Maeder of Berlin. Poertzel was a German visual artist, who received numerous commissions for portrait busts of various members of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family in the 1920s and 1930s. The seller had described this bust as having been originally part of a noble German estate, so this could very well be a likeness of one of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family members. There had to be more background history on her, so I started to do some snooping and came up with Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the mother of the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf. She would have been approximately twenty years of age at the time this bust was created, and her likeness in the photos that I came across looks so very similar to it. You can see for yourself here and here. There is a really good chance that I’m completely wrong, but I did have fun researching.
Click on the link below for one more photo of this beauty.
A newly acquired classical artifact now resides on the couch’s end table.
She’s an ancient Roman marble head dating from 100 — 200 AD which was found in Israel. Most of the Roman busts that I had researched to purchase had missing noses or diminished details. Not so with her. Her features are very beautiful still. I’m not sure that I like the display plinth. For one thing, the swivel pin is bent so that her head is tilted slightly back. So if you were to look at her at eye level, she looks like she’s purposely tilting her head back to gaze upwards. I don’t think this was the artist’s intention. Perhaps the gallery set her this way so that she’s best viewed from above while resting on a tabletop. For more photos of this beauty click the link below.
Except for me and the house, she’s the only antique in this setting.
This portrait of an unknown lady is a lucky find for me. Ever since Elle Decor published designer Jean Louis Denoit’s Paris apartment, I have been fascinated with his way of mixing eighteenth-century portraits with rich contemporary settings. So I decided to be unoriginal and copy this concept. My painting is by François Joseph Heim, and going by the style of her attire and accessories, it was most likely painted between 1805 and 1810. Since he was born in 1787, this would have been created very early in his career. To see a closer view of her, click on the link below.
A bronze copy of the famous reclining Pauline Bonaparte (Click on the photo for a much larger version.)
The original Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix was commissioned by her husband Camillo Borghese and executed in Rome from 1805 and 1808 by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. This life-size semi-nude evokes the ancient Roman tradition of depicting a mortal individual as a god and was considered daring for those times in that a lady of high rank was portrayed in the nude. Even though I have seen numerous copies, I never knew their provenance until one found its way into my living room.
A grouping of antique silhouettes. I have a weakness for odd antique art and recently purchased six silhouettes. How to hang them turned out to be a real mind bender. Usually the silhouette frames come with an ornate top ring, and hammering a brass nail into the wall to hang them from would have been the typical way to go. Except two of the frames had problems and required special treatment. Leigh Ann Williams of 24FPS suggested I call Russell Sublette, a preparator and mount maker who has worked at the Dallas Museum of Art for over thirty years. In his free time, Russell makes these ingenious captures for pieces of art that would fare better without the traditional mounting and framing techniques. There’s a little video on the DMA’s website that highlights one of Russell’s behind-the-scenes masterpieces.
Follow the link below to see the captures before, during, and after the install.