Lanceray at Woerffel, Grachev for Shopen?
L.N.Goncharova in her book “Russian bronze sculpture of 19th century” (Moscow, 2001, p.98) says that there are some models by Lanceray that have been cast at Fabr.C.F.Woerffel…
I personally have never seen anything like that. It looks like this is a wrong statement and can not be accepted, just because there was a real competition between the two foundries, beginning from about 1870.
His very first works Eugeny Lanceray cast at Sokolov foundry, but that is dated back in the late 1860s, after that – F.Chopin was the only caster of his models during the artist’s lifetime and later – Berto, Moran and Shtange used to cast Lanceray’s statues.
You can feel that Felix Chopin didn’t missed his chance and made Lanceray work for him from the very beginning, practically from the Lanceray’s being at the age of 22. May be he paid him upfront, or sponsored all his trips to Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa. Obviously, the travel expenses were not affordable to E.Lanceray but the travelling was so important for the artist to collect different ethnic characters. Russian Empire had so many unique ethnic groups in it and offered a lot of varieties of wonderful images and sculptural ideas to the sculptor to manifest his talent. As a business man, F. Chopin could see his profitable future in cooperation with Lanceray, so he was investing in him, keeping the artist to himself. It was very natural that he didn’t want Lanceray to be connected with Woerffel by any means.
Six children… It is more than just a fact that he was in need of money to run the family. May be because of that Eugeny was so productive working hard….
Can we say that the conditions, Lanceray was working under, were very tough? Most likely yes… If not, why the other sculptors like: Leonid Pozen, Felix Hodorovich, Piotr Samonoff, Vasily Grachev and Artemy Ober* didn’t work for Chopin? I would say even more – there was a certain consolidation of the other artists behind this fact. I can suggest that from about 1875 till 1886 the fact of Lanceray being exploited by Chopin was cleary visible to everyone.
Never the less, we have to acknowledge that Lanceray’s creativity itself has gained a lot from the cooperation with F.Chopin’s foundry. But that was Lanceray’s career, not the artist himself. The sculptor himself, very talented and so much dedicated to what his was doing all his short life, just left his body at the age of 38 and went to where…? Probably, to the place where all the talented souls reside…
At the photograph bellow we can read the whole situation just by looking at their faces…
In 1878 due to his financial situation Lanceray had to sell full copyrights for his 17 models to Chopin. It is known that the bronze we can see on the table was modeled in 1878 and it looks like it is a fresh cast in the picture.
*Found some works by A.Ober and A.Werner cast at F.Chopin foundry in 1880s.