Portrait Busts of Washington & von Humboldt
Rudolf Uffrecht, Germany: c. 1861
Terracotta Portrait Busts of George Washington and Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt (left) and George Washington (right)

Side view of George Washington portrait bust Back view of George Washington portrait bust Side view of George Washington portrait bust

Side and back views of George Washington portrait.

Side view of Alexander von Humboldt portrait bust Back view of Alexander von Humboldt portrait bust Side view of Alexander von Humboldt portrait bust

Side and back views of Alexander von Humboldt portrait.

Detail of George Washington portrait bust

Washington portrait bust inscription on back.

Detail of Alexander von Humboldt portrait bust

Von Humboldt portrait bust inscription on base.

Rudolf August Heinrich Matthias Uffrecht (1840-1906) (after)
Portrait Bust of George Washington
Portrait Bust of Alexander von Humboldt

German: c. 1861
Terracotta with black slip
Washington bust signed on back R. Uffrecht and dated 1861
Von Humboldt bust incised beneath base: U&C 108
9 inches high, 4.5 inches wide, 4.25 inches deep
$900 each

Two ceramic portrait busts, apparently from a series, one of American founding father George Washington and the other of German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.  They are made of terracotta, and coated with a black slip, to simulate bronze.  They demonstrate the skillful naturalistic modeling for which the sculptor, Rudolf Uffrecht, was known.  The Washington portrait has the name "G. Washington" in raised block letters across the front, and is incised on the back with Uffrecht’s signature and copyrighted 1861.  The von Humboldt is similarly titled "A. Humboldt" and incised beneath the base with Uffrecht's maker's mark.   The date of manufacture on the George Washington bust, 1861, was early in Uffrecht's career, when he was a standout student at the Berlin Academy of the Arts.

Rudolf August Heinrich Matthias Uffrecht was a German painter and sculptor known for his terracotta portraits of musicians, artists, poets and political and historical figures, as well as allegorical and genre subjects.  The eldest son of ceramics manufacturer Jakob Uffrecht, he studied at the Berlin Academy of the Arts with the sculptor Bernhard Afinger, winning three consecutive first prize awards in modeling and composition between 1860 and 1862.  He started working for his father's factory, modeling terracotta figures and designing industrial ceramics.  In the 1870s he traveled to the world exhibition in Vienna and also toured Germany, Greece, Italy and Switzerland.  He opened his own studio in Rome in the 1880s, where he belonged to the German Association of Artists, a group of German artists in Rome.  In 1891, he moved to Florence, then returned to Germany in 1895, living and working in Berlin from 1897.  Uffrecht impressed contemporary critics with the naturalness of his figures and harmonious designs.  He also produced literary works.

George Washington (1732-1799) led the Continental Army to victory over Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War and was the first president of the United States.

Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a prominent German scientist and world explorer of the 19th century. He embarked on one of the early expeditions to the interior regions of South America and Central America, charting the land and recording the flora and fauna, as well as the customs of native peoples.

Full inscription on Washington: R. Uffrecht. modelliert 1861. deponirt. [Modeled by R. Uffrecht. Registered 1861.]

References:

Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs.  France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. p. 423.

Heinrich, Guido. "Uffrecht, Rudolf August Heinrich Matthias." Universität Magdeburg.  21 September 2005.  http://www.uni-magdeburg.de/mbl/Biografien/1524.htm (24 February 2012).


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