Johann Wolgang von der Auwera was the pupil of his father Jakob von der Auwera (1672-1760) and Claude Curé (d. 1745), both of whom were court sculptors in the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg. Johann took over his father’s workshop in 1736 upon his return from studies in Vienna, and, in 1738, became court sculptor to Prince-Bishop Friedrich Karl von Schönborn. Auwera shared his Princely patron with Balthasar Neuman, the foremost German architect of the eighteenth century, and collaborated with him on several architectural projects. The two artists were friends and spent some months travelling in the Netherlands together in 1740.
The depiction of the elderly but vigorous figure of Chronos clipping the wings of Cupid was seen in the 18th century as allegorical of time destroying youth and beauty. A precedent for this small-scale work in alabaster is found in the group of Gladiators by Auwera made for Schönborn in 1736-8 in the Würzburg Residenz. Another comparable figure of Time carved in fruitwood and attributed to Auwera is illustrated in the Blumka Gallery and Julius Böhler 2004 exhibition catalogue Collecting Treasures of the Past IV, no. 50.
One possibility for the authorship of the present group is that it could be the work of Auwera's pupil, the important Rococo sculptor Johann Peter Wagner (1730-1809). Chronos' frowning expression and slightly stooped pose compare with those of St. John the Baptist in an alabaster relief signed by Wagner, which was sold in these rooms on 14 July 1977, lot 329. Wagner in fact produced a monumental fountain, which was dominated by a figure of Chronos for Hofstraße in Würzburg in the 1770's (replaced in the 19th century).
Collecting Treasures of the Past IV, exh. cat. Blumka Gallery, New York, and Julius Böhler, Munich, 2004, Munich, 2004, no. 50; H. Hägele. "Auwera." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed September 1, 2013, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T005241pg2.