Inventory Number HWH001
Size 20h x 18w x 5d in
Country of Origin Switzerland
Year Made 1919
Carved from a rich, warm maple and mounted on a large black stand with faceted edges, Hans Huggler-Wyss’ Maple Centaur sculpture is a powerful depiction of the half-man, half-horse mythological creature. The centaur carries a large spear that rests upon his right shoulder as he leans backwards. The level of detail and the quality of the carving makes this piece an
extraordinary example of the work of Hans Huggler-Wyss.
Huggler-Wyss (1877-1947) was a Swiss sculptor from Brienz, a small town in the Bernese Oberland region. The son of well-known woodworker and sculptor Johan Huggler, he was exposed to sculpture early on and joined the family business, where he perfected and improved some of the wood techniques that he learned from his father. He taught at Brienz’s Woodcarving school between 1903 and 1914. He acquired a solid reputation in 1915 after creating a nativity crèche sculpture in wood, which gained tremendous popularity throughout Switzerland. Many commented that the expressive quality of the animals and human figures was ahead of its time.
Huggler-Wyss specialized in the creation of small-scale animal and human figures from the Bible and the Greek mythology. His style was simple and rustic in form, often relying a naturalist style that was still in fashion in rural Switzerland. He later incorporated elements from Art Deco iconography, the sculptor mostly worked in wood but also experimented with a variety of materials, like bronze and ceramic.
His studio remained in the hands of the family after his death and is still in business today.