Austrian cold-painted bronze sculpture of a merchant


This skilful rendering of an Arab merchant displaying his wares wows with its vibrant colours, exploiting in full the qualities of cold-painted bronze.


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This fantastic figurative sculpture is full of story and character, with the bright colour palette showcasing the cold-painting technique which was popular in Austria at the turn of the 20th century.

The figure is dressed in a simple yet refined robe, which shines in a vibrant gold colour. His shoulders are surrounded by a beautiful green cloak, which has been expertly cast to show off the drapery, and features an ornate gold clasp across the figure’s chest. Attention to detail has clearly been paid by the maker of this bronze, who has matched the red tones of the merchant’s turban to his shoes. The turban is intricately patterned even on a small scale, decorated with red, blue, and yellow bands and dotted motifs. The expression of the figure is engaged, suggesting that he is on the look-out for potential customers. His face is beautifully cast, with particular detail given to the texture of his beard.

The figure’s wares are displayed on two tables. The larger table features foliate decoration on each side of the skirt. Whilst the merchant is holding a piece of jewellery in his hands, the items on the tables indicate that he is also selling weaponry, musical instruments, clocks, and animal figurines. The range of items on display here are truly eclectic, creating a sense of character for the merchant.

The sculpture is stamped ‘AUSTRIA’ on the underside.

With its vibrant colours and amusing eclecticism, this cold-painted bronze would be a fantastic addition to any Orientalist connection.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1910
Early 20th Century
Gold, Green, Metallic, Red


19 cm / 7.5 inches
11 cm / 4.3 inches
14 cm / 5.5 inches


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