Original sculpture by Franc Epping, Titled Man with hat
Sculpture in plaster with its original green patina signed on base.
Edition: unknown, but probably an open edition.
Dimension: Size: 98 x 35 cm.
Provenance: German private collection
Note: A large bronze version was used in a star trek episode with Captain Kirk in the foreground. ref: Taste of Armageddon S1 – Ep 24
Smaller versions were edited by the company: Austin Prod Inc London.
SOLD!!! Most mysterious art piece the gallery sold, although other quite special artworks or artistes remain to be discovered, that’s what keeps us a live and full of passion!
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Franc (Dorothy) EPPING (1910 – 1983) – Christine Roselyn MUTCHLER
Officially Frances Dorothy Epping is born in 1910, in Providence, Rhode Island USA. In 1913 John C Epping, a successful motion picture executive who had hired the child’s mother as a housemaid, adopted the little girl and on her legal papers he changed the place of her birth to providence, Rhode Island.
Her real name is Christina Roselyn Mutchler and she was born on June 27, 1910, at Alhambra, California and died on February 20, 1983 in Lenox, Massachusetts.
She had quite a life and in the beginning her father by adoption shuffled her around from home to home, from Catskills, New York, in to an Alhambra convent and even in Germany. She finished her secondary education in Los Angeles and was finally reunited with her original family. Frederick J. Mutchler and Christina Roselyn Lucas (born Wesseler) were her real parents; (?) Frederick was born on June 26, 1883, in New York and her mother Christina was born on July 24, 1892, in Cologne, Germany.
Frances Dorothy Epping’s had a good but varied art education. Her education included the Otis art institute, (An avant-garde art school established in 1918 in Los Angeles) and then the Royal Bavarian Academy in Munich. Because she was a woman, she sometimes listened and followed to the lectures from the hallway. Although all these obstacles this strong women holds up against a mainly male dominated world of fine art sculpture. She studied in Munich under Josef Wackerle and Berhard Bleeker classic sculpture, and even won a prize from the Royal Munich Academy of fine arts in 1933. She was 23 years old, but already won a prize in 1929 an award from the Los Angeles Museum of History, science and the arts.
She decided to use a masculine version of her adopted name Frances became Franc Epping.
She moved back to New York, Rode Island where she worked and lived for a while. Franc Epping is known being a sculptor teacher her career starts at Berea College in Berea Kentucky were she taught art. (Berea was unusual in that it offered a work study program; Students did not pay tuition instead they worked at least ten hours a week.) Berea College opened in 1869 as a democratic radically integrated community for women and men. She also conducted art classes in The Lenox School in Massachusetts.
Epping belonged to such highly regarded organizations as the Sculptors Guild and the federation of modern painters and sculptures. The latter was a non-political alternative to the declining American Artists Congress; the organization promoted avant-garde art which is art that departs from the existing norms in that period.
Epping received awards from the Connecticut Academy of fine arts in 1954, and the Silvermine Guild in 1955.
The results of her displays included among others a prize from the Munich Academy of fine arts in 1933 and a prize from the Los Angeles Museum of History, science and the arts in 1929, The Smithsonian Institution in 1937, The Berea College, Washington College, The Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Riverside Museum in 1941 were some of the highly recognized institutions exhibited artworks of Franc Epping.
Her most known and documented achievements till now are her commissioned Bas reliefs mentioned in the New Deal Art in Alabama, book about the Murals, Sculptures and Other Works, and Their creators, written by De Anita Price Davis and Jimmy S. Emerson.
The Federal art program was created in 1934 under the name treasury section of painting and sculpture and changed in 1938 to the section of the treasury of fine arts. Then a new section was created for the building and construction of public buildings in 1940. The section of fine arts of public buildings administration of the federal works agency is the one who gave her the commissioned sculptures in 1941 for the three terracotta bas reliefs (Tobacco, wheat and cotton) for the Alexandre city post office in Alexandre city, Alabama and also in 1942 the terracotta artworks for the post office in Oakmont, Pennsylvania called Alleghany River (also a modeled three parts bass-relief, but joined together in one big ensemble)
Sources: New Deal Art In Alabama, The Murals, Sculptures and Other Works, and Their creators by De Anita Price Davis, Jimmy S. Emerson. A few Photographs and remarks by her Nephew Michael Shermer (Skeptic magazine) Publisher Skeptic Magazine, Presidential Fellow Chapman University, author Heavens on Earth, The Moral Arc.
!!! Personal note:
Mysterious figure. Till know not so much information on the artist’s artworks. The artwork is far from the classic archaic figures in the style of the teachers, although there is of cause an academic influence, like I saw written and mentioned somewhere. Her works are certainly not the official accepted style of the NS party of and from 1933 to 1944, but more in a Secession style. The other artworks I saw are in a strong expressionistic style, or a sort of late Art Deco and with German New Objectivity influences.
At least we can conclude an interesting and intriguing artist and alas not an exception of the underestimation of women fine art artists, imagine, not alone woman sculptors.
February 11, 2020
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