Thomas Nygard Gallery - 19th and 20th Century American Art




Carl Kauba was born August 13, 1865 in Vienna, Austria.  The son of a shoemaker, Kauba chose to follow his calling into the world of art.  Collectors now rank him in a class with Remington and Russell as one of the great portrayers of American Western.  His subjects were typically American Indians, calvarymen, cowboys, and roughriders.  In addition to his American bronzes, Kauba produced a lifetime’s worth of Austrian statuary.  His work became fully appreciated on both sides of the Atlantic.


Carl studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under professor Laufenberg.  Later he would study at the academies under Carl Waschmann and Stefan Schwartz.  Next, he went to Paris in 1886 to further study before he set off for the U.S.  In fact, some debate still remains as to whether Kauba ever visited the U.S.


Kauba’s fascination with the West was fired by the stories of the German writer, Carl May, whose tales of Western adventure were well known throughout Europe.  Most authorities feel that he was about twenty-five years old when he traveled widely throughout the American West.  He then returned to Austria with voluminous notes, sketches, and several models of Western sculpture.  He later corresponded with a friend in Ohio who sent him a complete collection of costume material.


A few critics cite certain inaccuracies of weapons and equestrian gear.  Without a doubt though, his work is most worthy of artistic merit.  His bronzes were all, without question, produced in Austria.  The polychrome finish, intricate detail, and the realistic forms make Kauba’s sculptures excellent examples of Viennese bronzes at the turn of the century.  The difference being, that his subjects were of the American West.  Most were cast for the American market between 1895 and 1912.  They were widely advertised and sold by Latendorfer in New York during the 1950’s.

(1865 - 1922)

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