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Post Lot Text
A CARVED IVORY AND WOOD GROUP OF THE VIRGIN AND CHILD
BY SIMON TROGER (1683-1768), FIRST HALF 18TH CENTURY
The Virgin depicted standing on a sphere with an entwined snake and crescent moon, looking to dexter and holding the Christ child in both hands, both figures with inlaid glass eyes; on an integral square ivory-veneered plinth; the Virgin signed to the reverse of her cloak 'SIMAN TROGER', with a paper label to the reverse of the plinth inscribed 'XXXXI' and also in ink '5202'; the underside of the base with further inscription in ink and a circular paper label inscribed '9?284'; minor losses and repairs.
Simon Troger was born in Abfaltersbach in East-Tyrol and was employed from 1721 by the sculptor Schmiedecker in Merano and around 1723-1725 by Nikolaus Moll (1676-1754) in Innsbruck. He may also have travelled to Italy. He had arrived in Munich by 1726 at the latest, where he was first working alongside Andreas Faistenberger (1647-1736), but then founded his own highly productive workshop in Haidhausen near Munich, where he eventually died.
His speciality was the manufacture of bi-coloured figures and groups made from components carved in dark-stained wood and ivory, with glass eyes and sometimes metal ornaments. Among Troger's most important patrons were the Electors of Bavaria (Maximilien III Joseph), of Saxony (Dresden) and of Brandenburg (Berlin). As Hannelore Hägele has written (loc. cit.), the Baroque movements of these works display the artist's virtuosity, but also the influence of a variety of sources, including Mannerism, Fürstenberg porcelain and artists such as Faistenberger.
Troger created many devotional statuettes and groups, including a large group of St Michael vanquishing Satan in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, a Martyrdom of St Lawrence (Philippovich, Elfenbein, 1961, op. cit., pl. 169), Cain and Abel (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich - see also the following lot), a Lamentation over the dead Christ and a Daniel in the Lions' Den (Stiftssammlungen, Klosterneuburg; Philippovich, Simon Troger, 1961, op. cit., pls. 11-12), and a spectacular group of The Judgement of Solomon (Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Philippovich, Elfenbein, op. cit., pl. 178).
Christian Theuerkauff, in his catalogue entry on a similar figure of the Virgin Mary as an Immaculata in the Winkler Collection (op. cit., p. 140, no. 74) which he ascribes to Simon Troger and his workshop suggests that the present work may be comparatively early on account of its rather different handling of the drapery, which he describes as the stiff-edged style of folds (gratig steifen Flatenstil). They may also, however, be seen as having a monumental simplicity that indicates a very confident carver. The fact that it is fully signed suggests that Troger was especially proud of it.