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

Friday, September 9, 2011

P. Leuschner (?), German artist - Bronze Card Holder - Nude Boy on Lilypad - H. Behrnd Foundry, Dresden - ca. 1900

This morning I was browsing auction house sites in Germany and I stumbled upon this beautiful little utilitarian bronze card holder by an unknown (to me) German artist by the name of P. Leuschner. I have been unable to find any biographic information on the artist but the one thing that struck me was the typical Symbolist design of the piece and the subject matter, a nude boy playing with a slug on a lilypad. There is some damage to the piece but it is still worthy of collecting. The subject matter of a young nude ephebe fits right into a sub-section of the Symbolist movement (mid-1850's to about 1900) called "The Cult of the Ephebe." The artistic members of this little known group specialized in depicting the nude ephebe (nude boy) as a symbol of innocence and awakening.

**** Addendum: (9/14/11) I just learned that the bid I placed on this little bronze at Von Zegen Kunstauktionen, Bonn, Germany, won the auction. It looks as if this nice little bronze work will be joining my collection sometime in the near future.

Anonymous 19th Century German Artist: Jugendstil Watercolor - Female Nude


This beautiful little watercolor (directly below) popped up on eBay Austria this morning and I grabbed it. It is obvious from the detail and application of color that the artist, whoever he or she might have been, was certainly classically trained in the 19th century academic tradition and knew something about the medium. Watercolor is not very forgiving and you had better know how it behaves when it hits that paper or the result will certrainly not be what we have here. You don't push it around like oil paints. I am impressed with the color application in this little watercolor also. These dreamy, laurel wreath laden nude beauties, esconced in a forest or resting by a gurgling little brook, au naturale, were typical of the German Jungendstil movement. Although artists of the German Jugendstil Movement threw in with their French counterparts in French Art Nouveau, the art of Jugendstil was stylistically original and focused on Germanic themes and mythology. The driving force of the Jugendstil movement was the magazine Munchner Jugend (1896-1914)(above illustration of cover art), which made extensive use of illustrations and designs of German Art Nouveau artists. I will scan it when it arrives and post the details.

Caption: Female Nude, Standing in woods
Artist: Unknown German Artist, unsigned, Jugendstil in style
Material: Watercolor on paper (18cm x 13cm)
Dated: undated, ca. 1900

Josef Johan Ludwig Uphues (1850-1911) Bronze Male Nude - The Archer


This week I located an edition of Josef Uphues' (1850-1911) bronze "The Archer." After negotiations with the seller I made the purchase. There is another title given to this bronze "Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds" (see the variation below) also. The bronze appears to be in good shape with a little bend in the bow which I will check into having restored by a conservator. I will rephotograph the bronze when it arrives and post the results for you.

Josef Uphues was an important German sculptor who has been linked to many of the avant-garde movements of his day. In 1878 he entered the Konigliche Akademische Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste in Berlin. He apprenticed as a carpenter in his early years and later apprenticed as a stonemason in Wiedenbruck. He was a student of Reinhold Begas (1831-1911), a well known German sculptor, and Fritz Schaper (1841-1919). In 1882, he became a master student of Reinhold Begas and from 1885 t0 1891 he worked as an assistant in Begas' private studio. From 1892 he started a business studio of his own and in 1899 he became professor and member of the Berlin Secession. Uphues experimented with Jugendstil, a German decorative arts movement inspired by the Art Nouveau movement in France.


Here are additional variations of the bronze and another work by Uphues: