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Katharina Felder, Peasant Children, undated

Plaster, 12 x 7 x 45 cm (boy) 14 x 7 x 5 cm (girl), no inv. no.

These two figures are plaster casts made in two parts, necessitated by the composition, with its undercuts and the negative space between the legs. The casts are divided up into the figure and the plinth and tree stump.

This is most discernible on the girl. After casting, her skirt was manually filled out with plaster from below after the legs were positioned. The casting procedure is made evident by the burst air bubble on the girl’s head. What is remarkable about the production technique is the extremely fine and precise work carried out post-casting. A thin and smooth layer of plaster was applied to the entire surface with a brush and then finished. This layer can be easily identified on the back of the plinth of the boy. Here, the joins connecting the different parts of the sculpture – for example between the soles of the feet and the plinth – were delicately sealed over. Furthermore, remarkably fine details were carved out, presumably with the use of a magnifying glass. These include the edges of the collar of the girl’s cardigan, which are slightly detached, and the boy’s string instrument or the slit in his right sleeve. The signatures were carved after the casting. These are also very finely rendered.

Though the figures were generally quite stable, the boy’s head has been lost, and the girl’s was detached. Large sections of the porous surface of the plaster were heavily stained. There were also numerous nicks, scratches and scuff marks.

The girl’s head was reattached and the numerous small sections that had fallen off were delicately filled in. The surface was cleaned under a microscope with a fine, custom-made substance.

Restoration: Theresa Bräunig