Monnik is a beautiful example of John Rädecker's subject choice during the 1920's. A.M. Hammacher writes about this:'And what about the themes of Rädecker's sculptures? Rädecker does not continue Mendes' [Joseph Mendes Dacosta] hero worship. For that one needs to have disposal of Mendes' spritual and literary talents. Rädecker does have something with him in common though. The urge to make one's own choice outside conventions, to the subjective point of departure, directed universally though. (....)
Rädecker's character, his subjective tendency, largely determines the nature of his symbolism. Mendes' way of concretising this in historical figures, has with Rädecker been substituted for giving himself and being himself completely. One can see therefor a typical romantic monotony in his subjects, a repeated return of the same principal subjects, time and again surviving themselves. An urge to 'speak', to live life to the full is clear in his works. When this urge is very strong, it can have drastic consequences. As a result, portrait commissions will never pursue or overwhelm him as they do with so many other artists. The most important for Rädecker is giving form to a completely personal world of faces and figures. Faces more often than figures. Rädecker has reshaped the face much stronger than any of his contemporaries. In his hands it has become a peculiar mix of night and day, of female and male, of dream and senses. Dream power is eminent in many of Rädecker's heads, never dominant though.' Hammacher then continues his discussion by focussing on the alleged bisexual aspect within Rädecker's art, mainly in his heads, like in the present lot: 'One will be able to distinguish the moving spirit, the prophetic eye and the creative power of Eros in the faces produced by Rädecker. The one time one can see a sex, the male or the female, in an inexplicable curious, dominating way, as a re-creation of the book of Genesis. The other time one can see a vanished male or female, vanished as in dreams, the bisexual face taking shape now, and it lives in paradise. Of course, this is not only the case with Rädecker. Maillol is able to create such combinations, in his own very different and more classical manner. In our country though this role is reserved for Rädecker, the only one who is capable of a similar bisexual sort of sculpting of faces pushed to the extremes. His frantic nature keeps resurfacing in them. Many a time he lost himself in the refined joys of and games with nymphs, young and sweet as flowers in dew-laden grass, or in the silence which surprises the the dreaming and tired faun after its games. Are these faces male or female? They are a mixture. In this I think to see the explanation of the romantic monotony of Rädecker's subjects.' (Hammacher, op.cit. p. 16-17). And then, specifically on the present lot: '(....) the bronze bust of a female monk, once referred to a St. Francis. The described compact design has in these forms become more noble. The usual broad, flattended nose is sharper and thinner now, with an edgy, vertical line and refined wings. The forehead is less horizontal and more silent in curving. The mouth is in a state of eligic expression. Not distorted, not bitter, though accepting, without dullness. Rich in suffering, though not sharpened. Still open to the world and ready to flower. A miracle of the nobility of the woman, tested by life (Hammacher, op.cit p. 34)
We kindly thank Dr. Y. Koopmans for his help in cataloging this lot.