The Riding Crop
Property from the Collection of a Nobleman
1891 - 1935
The Riding Crop
signed: Bruno Zach
bronze, dark brown patina
83cm., 32 3/4 in.
Overall the condition of the bronze is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The whip is separately cast (and is incorrectly placed in the catalogue photograph; it sits correctly in her hands in reality). There is some very minor wear to the surface including some minor rubbing such as at the chest. There are a few minor dirt residues. There is minor greening to some of the crevices particularly at the straps of the clothing around the arm.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Bruno Zach's The Riding Crop is an icon of interwar erotic art. It depicts an athletic woman who stands proudly, wearing gartered stockings tied with bows, and a tightly fitting dress which has slipped down her arms to reveal her breasts. From the front the viewer glimpses the phallic riding crop which is held in the woman's hands behind her back and is only fully revealed when the bronze is rotated. This sensuous attribute identifies the subject as a dominatrix or a mistress. Zach thus succeeds in conjuring a sense of the carefree nighttime sex scene of 1920s Berlin and, more specifically, Zach's native Vienna before the political landscape darkened and Europe was engulfed by the Nazi regime and the Second World War.
In his seminal book, Art Deco Sculpture, Victor Arwas described Zach as a: 'creator of tall, athletic, independent women in bronze and bronze and ivory. He produced highly sophisticated women dressed in leather trouser suits, insolently smoking cigarettes, high kicking can-can dancers, proud amazons, bathers clearly capable of swimming the Channel both ways without pause ... kinky images of women in slips or gartered stockings holding whip or riding crop, swirling skirted girls fighting the wind, haughty women naked beneath a parted fur coat. He showed both the healthy, outdoor pursuits and the dream mistresses of sado-masochistic Berlin, Vienna and Paris between the wars (op. cit., p. 246).
In some respects Zach's model is the sculptural accompaniment to Egon Schiele's sensuous partial nudes wearing stockings or boots, whilst being imbued with the same sense of self confidence seen in Tamara de Lempicka's evocative Art Deco portraits. The bronze finds a pictorial equivalent in the contemporary erotic paintings of the Scottish artist Jack Vettriano.
The Riding Crop is one of Zach's most canonical sculptures. The present bronze is cast in the rare larger size (83cm) of which another was sold at Christie's London on 1 May 2013, lot 58 for £97,875 (aggregate).
V. Arwas, Art Deco Sculpture, London, 1992, p. 246