Bergman, Franz

Franz Bergman was born in 1838 in Gablonz, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today in Czech Republic). Originally a sculptor, he learned bronze techniques in Joseph Ott’s workshop, a renowned sculptor and founder. He married his daughter and became his partner. In 1860 he was appointed bronze maker. He was part of the world fair in 1884 in Paris, where he discovered French bronze and was influenced by them, more so by their patina. In 1885 Franz moved to Vienna where he opened his own workshop. His main activity was statuary with oriental themes. He also created erotic bronzes he signed with the anagram NamGreb, for this production was considered immoral. His colorful bronzes were famous throughout Europe. When Franz died in 1894, his son Franz Xavier (1861-1936) took over the family business. In addition to his father’s works, he created wildlife bronzes with great success. In 1930, he went into bankruptcy and the workshop closed out. In the 1940s Robert Bergman, Franz Xavier’s son, re-opened the factory, which lasted until his death in 1954. His widow sold it in 1960 to a founders company named Fuhrmann & Co.