Running Fire,” a bronze by Austrian artist Carl Kauba (1865-1922), while not at the level of works by Remington or Russell, is still of value.
Jarvis C. sent a question in to WorthPiont’s “Ask a Worthologist” service, writing:
“This piece belonged to my grandfather and over the years it was always referred to as the ‘Remington bronze.’ Being that it sat on top of a rather tall book case for at least 30 years, I never really examined it until after I inherited it. I know Remington bronzes are worth a small fortune, but this one must be one of those reproductions I’ve seen sold on TV, although I haven’t found one that matches it, and it’s marked ‘C. Kauba.’ Any information you could find on this piece is much appreciated.”
Well Jarvis, this particular piece is called “Running Fire,” and you are correct that it is not a Remington piece. The good news is that it’s not a reproduction and I wouldn’t be too upset that it’s not by the famous sculptor Frederic Remington (American, 1861-1909), because “C. Kauba” was a well-respected sculptor in his own right. Carl Kauba (Austrian, 1865-1922) is ranked along with Remington and Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926) as one of the best sculptors of American Western subjects, but his work is not as well known to the American public.
Kauba studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and academies under Carl Waschmann and Stefan Schwartz until about 1886. It was at this point he is said to have to left for America, but there is some speculation that Kauba never actually visited the U.S. and that his interest in the Old West was fired by written accounts by well-known authors such as Karl May (1842-1912), whose books set in the Old West were popular fair in Europe. Of the experts who believe Kauba did visit the U.S., it is believed he completed numerous sketches and notes that he used to base his bronzes once he returned to Austria.
His bronzes were all produced in Austria and, like the Remington pieces, were finely detailed. They were cast for the American market between 1895 and 1912 and were equal to the best examples of Viennese bronzes made at the turn of the century. Today, examples of Kauba’s work can be found in the Harmsen Collection of American Western Art. As for value, while this piece isn’t up there with works by Remington or Russell, comparable examples of this piece by Kauba have sold in the $4,000-$6,000 range. Some of his larger pieces have sold for considerably more, and a large figure of a Plains Indian Chief titled “Peace” was sold in March of this year at a Christie’s sale for $25,000.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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