'The bushman hunter' signed and dated 'A v. Wouw 1902' (to base); inscribed 'Fonderia G. Nisini Roma' (to base) bronze 49cm (19 5/16in) high (including base)
PROVENANCE: Acquired in South Africa circa 1930 Thence by direct descent to the current owner
LITERATURE: University of Pretoria, Anton van Wouw: en die van Wouwhuis, (Pretoria, 1981), another edition illustrated p. 27 A.E. Duffey, Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works, (Pretoria, 2008), another edition illustrated pp. 36-38
The bushman hunter is an extremely fine example of van Wouw's peerless skill in rendering the finest of details, like the folds of skin on the hunter's back and the curls in his hair. The figure is one of the most popular of all van Wouw's smaller works. Duffey opines:
"One already sees with these early smaller sculptures how van Wouw, with his sterling technique and acute observational abilities, portrayed his subjects in the finest detail.....without detriment to the monumentality of the composition as a whole. The quality of the casting, which the founders G. Massa and G. Nisini of Rome did for him during this period, was never surpassed and doubtlessly contributed to the high quality of these smaller works."
The model for this small sculpture was a Bushman called Korhaan, who stayed for a year with van Wouw as a servant and model. Unused to clothing, he is said to have gone about his duties in the nude. Following his stay with van Wouw, Korhaan was taken to America by his next employer. There he was exhibited as a human rarity and eventually found his way into Barnum and Bailey's circus, where he worked for more than thirty years.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.E. Duffey, Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works, (Pretoria, 2008)