Large cold-painted bronze sculpture of Rebecca by Bergman

By Bergman, Franz Xaver (Austrian, 1861-1936)


This cold-painted bronze figural group is significant for its vibrant colours and unusual subject, drawing upon the biblical scene of Rebecca at the well.


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This interesting figural sculpture was crafted by Franz Xaver Bergman (1861-1936), a renowned Austrian artist, at the beginning of the 20th century. Depicting a tender scene of human interaction, its design is unusual for pieces of this type.

The sculpture depicts the biblical story of Rebecca at the well, from Genesis 24:11–22. In the story, Rebecca’s selfless offering of water to Abraham’s senior steward reveals her to be the appointed bride for Abraham’s son, Isaac. This sculpture draws upon that same iconography: covering her face in a display of modesty, Rebecca holds the urn of water at her hip, offering it to the thirsty traveller who has approached.

The figures are both dressed in typical Orientalist fashions, and the bright red and green hues used exemplify the possibilities of the cold-painting technique. The carving of the figures is exceptionally skilled, with particular attention given to the drapery of the fabrics. The figures surround a small well, the opening of which extends all the way to the bottom of the sculpture, suggesting that the piece could be used as a utile object. The scene is set on top of a rocky outcrop, which like the figures has been expertly carved, here replicating a stony texture.

The sculpture is signed ‘Namgreb’ on the underside – Bergman spelled backward.

With its unusual subject and excellent craftsmanship, this piece reinforces Bergman’s reputation as the foremost maker of cold-painted bronzes. The figural sculpture would be a wonderful addition to the collection of anyone interested in Orientalist antiques.


Similar models by Bergman are featured in Joseph Zobel, Antique Vienna Bronzes, pages 184 and 206.


Artist / Maker
By Bergman, Franz Xaver (Austrian, 1861-1936)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1910
Early 20th Century


30 cm / 11.8 inches
30 cm / 11.8 inches
30 cm / 11.8 inches


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