Franz Xavier Bergman (1861 – 1936), was a Viennese sculptor who produced numerous cold-painted bronze Oriental and animal figures. Recognized for his great attention to detail and wonderful vibrant colours,Bergman had a distinctive signature either a ‘B’ in a vase shape or ‘Nam Greb’ which reads Bergman in reverse. It is said that he used these marks as a ‘nom de plume’ as the subjects of his work were often unquestinably erotic and not to the taste of his family.
Sensuous poses of young women in the Art Nouveau style were disguised by a covering that revealed all when a button was pushed or a lever moved. Often carefully sculpted animals, such as bears, could be opened to reveal an erotic figure inside.
‘Cold painted bronze’ refers to pieces cast in Vienna and then decorated with oil paint. The colour was not fired hence “cold painted”.