. . . .who is the fairest in the land?" As posted previously on this blog, there was a fad for artistic smoking paraphernalia in the early 1900s, especially ashtrays of bronze and stone. This kneeling miss admiring both herself and her necklace in her hand mirror is yet another example. Although this sculpture is signed only "Austria"on the back of the cushion, I attribute this bronze belle to Bruno Zach (1891–1945), a Ukrainian artist who studied sculpture in Vienna and became renown for his bronze sculptures, many of an erotic nature. The woman's extreme oval, almost egg-shaped, head with delicate sharp features and brushed-back hair is very typical of Zach's early ladies. The use of colored patina, such as the silvering on her stockings and the rose tint on her beads, is also found on many Zach pieces. Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vienna was the home of many foundries and ateliers producing finely crafted bronzes to adorn the homes and offices of those wishing to subtly display their taste and wealth. She is 4 inches high and her ashtray base of onyx is 7 inches long.
This close up shows the wonderful details of this diminutive sculpture and the subtle use of patina.