This exuberant figure of Saint Catherine has been convincingly attributed to Daniel Mauch, one of the foremost wood carvers of early-16th century Swabia. Her distinctive, shrewdly smiling face, and finely delineated strands of hair are seen in numerous female figures by the master, from early works such as the Catherine in the Coronation relief in Kempten (op. cit., cat. no. 1) to carvings from his later career, notably the Mary Magdalene in Geislingen of circa 1520 (op. cit., cat. no. 26).
Daniel Mauch is considered the last great sculptor of the late Gothic school in Ulm. Having spent the majority of his career from 1503 the Swabian city, he settled in Liège in 1529, a move that may have been motivated by the Reformation movement in his hometown. It is in Mauch's only securely documented work from his activity in Liège that the Saint Catherine finds perhaps her closest comparison. Though the general scheme of her drapery corresponds to earlier works by the master (see op. cit., cat. no. 37a), her agitated sense of movement and the tubular parallel folds around her right arm are reminiscent of the so-called Berselius Madonna of circa 1529-1535 (op. cit., cat. no. 39). The present figure is therefore likely to represent a rare masterwork from the sculptor's later career, which saw a transition from a late Gothic to a Renaissance aesthetic.
B. Reinhardt and E. Leistenschneider (eds.), Daniel Mauch: Bildhauer im Zeitalter der Reformation, exh. cat. Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Ostfildern, 2009
An expertise by Dr. Albrecht Miller, dated 6 April 2010, is available upon request.