Altorf, Johan Coenraad
(Den Haag, 1876 - Den Haag, 1955)
BeschrijvingMEASUREMENTS: height: 28,5 cm (with base). DESCRIPTION: signed. Cast porcelain on original carved fruitwood base. Executed by C. J. Lanooij, circa 1911. PROVENANCE: Collection J. Erwteman, Brussels, thence by descent. LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: P. A. Terwen, Het ceramische werk van J. C. Altorf en de samenwerking met C. J. Lanooy, Vormen uit Vuur no. 164, Amsterdam 1998, pp.3 - 9, 12, cat. no. 5. CATALOGUE NOTE: Sculptor J. C. Altorf (1876 - 1955) was a versatile artist, experimenting with various materials and different types of free and applied sculpture, specializing in animal sculpture. Ceramic artist Chris Lanooij (1881 - 1948) was renowned for his technical skill and artistic talent. Although the paths of both artists must have crossed several times before 1911, it was probably their mutual acquaintance and mecenas H. P. Bremmer (1872 - 1955) who stimulated them to work together on a series of porcelain and earthenware animal figures. Apart from the artistic challenge, this project must have appealed to the poverty-stricken Altorf because of the low production costs of ceramics compared to bronze. Between 1911 and 1915, a group of five animals, modelled by Altorf and executed by Lanooij (an elephant, an owl, a cockatoo, a bison and a monkey), was produced in limited editions. The owl here offered for sale was made in an edition of 12, as indicated inside the hollow figure. The underglaze-painted mark also acknowledges Bremmer's involvement in the project, showing a triangle with three letters: A (Altorf), B (Bremmer) and L (Lanooij). It is believed that all the figures by Altorf and Lanooij were sold with a fruitwood base made by Altorf himself. A wooden sculpture of an owl by Altorf from the collection of Bremmer was sold in our sale of 23 May 2007, AM1029, lot 57.
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