The hammer worker signed and inscribed 'A. van Wouw' (lower right) and inscribed 'FOUNDRY. G. MASSA. ROMA' (to reverse) bronze 13 x 14 x 5cm (5 1/8 x 5 1/2 x 1 15/16in) (not including base)
PROVENANCE: Pieter Wenning Gallery, Johannesburg Thence by descent to the current owner
LITERATURE: A.E. Duffey, Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works, (Pretoria, 2008), another edition illustrated p. 89
In this popular sculpture, an African miner sits beneath an overhanging rock ledge, chiselling the surface in front of him. Van Wouw creates a compelling, self-contained scene, complete with the miner's tools and necessities: hammer, chisel, candle, haversack and water bottle.
There are two versions of The hammer worker: a smaller version and a larger one which is 60cm high. The present lot is a cast of the smaller version, with the right foot positioned slightly differently to the larger one. A possible explanation for having created this smaller version is "because of its [the larger version's] price [which] has always, even during the artist's lifetime, been exceptionally high".
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.E. Duffey, Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works, (Pretoria, 2008), p.89