AUS EINEM GUSS Introduction

One hundred years of Art Cast Foundry Noack represents four generations of business and family tradition in which the management has always been passed on from father to son. Starting with Traugott Noack (1865-1941) who founded this Foundry on 1st July 1899, followed by Fritz Noack (1904-1981), Gerhard Noack (born 1931) and Bert Noack (born 1964) who became the owner in 1992.
The history of this unique foundry is marked by extraordinary assignments from outstanding artists, e.g. Carl Seffner, Max Klinger, Kurt Kluge, Matthieu Molitor, Hans Zeissig, Walter Arnold, Rudolf Oelzner, Theo Balden, Gerhard Geyer, Wieland Förster, Jenny Mucchi-Wiegmann, Wolfgang Mattheuer, and May Marx. Their beautiful works are now to be seen in the townscape of Leipzig and elsewhere. Besides their work as bronze casters, the Noack's have become an important partner in the preservation and restoration of bronze monuments since the end of World War II.
It is also noteworthy that the Noacks still preserve and use historic casting techniques which are lost in other foundries. A lot of the works that were cast by the Noacks are museum pieces now. The exhibition and this publication show the large profils of Art Cast Foundry Noack and provide an opportunity to thank alt its friends and its own team of skilled specialists for their excellent and constructive cooperation.

Prof. Dr. Arnold Vogt, Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Gussszene in der Bronzebildgiesserei Noack in LeipzigBronze is a man-made material. It is made from a fusion of various metals. The main components are copper and tin in a proportion of 85-95% to 7-10%. According to the kind of alloy the foundry craftsman wants to produce, tin and lead can be added. Both, copper and tin exist in a natural compound, but only altered compounds allow the specific use of their alloy. Since the beginning of the Bronze Age in the third century B. C. metal artists have tried out various mixing ratios to cast bells, receptacles, guns, large statues, small sculptures, medals, and badges. Art foundries distinguish between the so-called "Rotguss"- a material with shares of copper (86%), tin (7%), zinc (5%), and lead (2%) - and the so-called "Gelbguss" - a compound of copper and zinc in a proportion of about 52-48%. This alloy is better known as brass or "bell metal" in which the share of tin can be up to 25%. If the share of tin is large, the alloy will be called "Welssguss". The share of copper can be more than 90% for casting badges and medals.
At a temperature of 1150 degrees centigrade the alloy is poured into the mold. It depends on the technical skills of the foundry craftsman wether the casting process will be successful or not. This success is based on long experience. Therefore, it is a rare blessing when such experience can be passed on from one generation to the next like it has been done in the "Bronzebildgiesserei T. Noack" in Leipzig for now 100 years. Traditionally minded and open for Innovations, the Noacks use both, traditional and modern technologies. Laser cleaning and modern testing methods stand all the tests, as do the old casting techniques, e.g. the lost wax process.
The bronze foundry craftsman is not creative on bis own, but, without his intuitive understanding of the artist's intentions, there would be no ideal result at the end of the sculpture production. Therefore, the bronze foundry craftsman is an artist-craftsman. Both, the artist and the foundry craftsman are equal partners, e.g. when the original form is lost and the lost wax procedure has to be done, the work of the craftsman is needed. It is no wonder that foundry craftsmen did not only sign their work in the past, but proudly added in Latin "fudit", "I have cast sculpture."
Sometimes their work was so brilliant that the sculptor's name soon fell into oblivion, like in the case of Andreas Schlüter's design for the monument "Berliner Reiterdenkmal des Grossen Kurfürsten" which had been cast by Johan Jacobi.
However, it has been a rule that the name of the artist is considered more important than that of the foundry craftsman for 100 years. Art foundries often remain unmentioned and are difficult to trace, even in our times. Therefore, the complex division of labor between the artist and the craftsman is concealed from the art expert as well as from the general public. The work of the foundry craftsman is not appreciated. Rare exceptions like the 100th anniversary of the Art Foundry Noack make it possible to Visit the place that was founded by Traugott Noack on 1st July 1899. Religions implements, statues and other small sculptures are cast there, as well as reliefs, medals, and badges, using gold, silver, iron and aluminium. All items are cast in close partnership with the mold maker, a process which shows the craftsman's responsibility for the artist's intentions, as well as his own independent work.
When the Art Foundry Noack was founded, there was no tradition of bronze casting in Leipzig. Since the foundation of the Leipzig Academy of Arts in 1764, the ornamentation of buildings and monuments was made of stone. Therefore, all metal sculptures were made in the art foundries of Nürnberg, Berlin, Dresden, and Lauchhammer. Nevertheless, artistic casting had started in Berlin in the 19th century, but at the beginning they were only casting iron sculptures, using the techniques of the Lauchhammer art foundry which invented the clay-mold in 1775. In 1883 the sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch introduced bronze casting in Lauchhammer. At first, they cast complete models until Ernst Rietschel discovered the technlque of the two halved sand molds in France. Lauchhammer soon became one of the most productive German art foundries of the 19th Century.

Geschäftskarte um 1910Between 1880 and 1884, when Traugott Noack was an apprentice there, Lauchhammer started the renaissance of the ancient, lost wax process which had almost been edged out by sand casting. At the beginning, foundry expert Traugott Noack owned what he called "Leipziger Giesshütte für Bildguss" together with Paul Brückner, a talented hand engraver. Therefore, they were able to meet the demands of the contemporary sculptors for a so-called "complete" bronze casting. Not only did those artists demand that excess metal be removed, or that welds and casting channels be polished off - they often wanted a complete reworking of their sculptures. The hand engraver's work became even more important when the silver tops for the new Leipzig City Hall tables were modelled by Max Klinger between 1905 and 1910.
At first, the jointly owned art foundry worked for young artists who had settled in Leipzig. Its reputation grew stronger when Max Klinger, the most famos sculptor of Leipzig, asked Noack & Brückner to carry out his ideas. From that time, some of the most important castings of public monuments were carried out by this foundry in Leipzig until World War 1, e.g. Carl Seffner's monuments of Johann-Sebastian Bach and Johann-Wolfgang von Goethe, Werner Stein's "Maegdebrunnen" and Josef Magr's "Maerchenbrunnen".

In 1920 the foundry moved to its current address at Kochstrasse 26 and Traugott Noack`sson Fritz took over the management in 1931. Thogether they were able to manage the foundry during those difficult times of inflation and worldwide economic recession. The reputation of the foundry was so high that almost all the sculptors of Leipzig wanted their designs cast by the Noacks. Most young artists who were trained at the Leipzig School for Arts and Grafts followed their older masters and created small sculptures, statues, medals, and badges. However, many of these works were soon removed from their locations and melted down shortly after they had been displayed because the armament industry wanted the material.

ZumThose years during which Fritz Noack was responsible for the foundry were truly some of the most dangeros and most difficult ones. Receiving his call-up order for military duty, the owner had to close down the foundry in 1942. When he returned, he had to rebuild his business, because most parts of his foundry had been severely damaged during World War II.
It was not easy for the Noacks to carry on under the conditions of economic State control. A casting license was required for every bronze item, Therefore, most assignments were related to the restoration of historic monuments that had been damaged during the war, e.g, Leipzig's two big fountains "Mendebrunnen" and "Maegdebrunnen". Since that time, the permanent maintenance of public monuments has become an important part of Noack's work. Nevertheless, the studio castmany medals, monuments and badges to the designs of Walter Arnold, Gerhard Geyer, M. Alf Brumme, Bruno Eyermann, and Gerhard Llchtenfeld. In 1969, Gerhard Noack took over the managment in the 3th generation. He was able to save the studio from economic restrictions as he earned the official title "Skilled Master Craftsman" because of the fine quality of his works. Therefore, the "Bronzebildgiesserei Noack" was allowed to train new artist-craftsmen who helped to save rare casting techniques from falling into oblivion. Only to a rather small extent did the studio receive orders for public monuments, e.g. Wolfgang Mattheuer's "Jahrhundertschritt" and Bernd Göbel's "Unzeitgemäße Zeitgenossen".

For political reasons, some works never left the foundry until re-unification in 1989, although they had been completed long before. However, under the management of Gerhard Noack, the foundry was often asked to cast replicas on behalf of the City of Leipzig, e.g. Max Klinger's designs for the "Museum der Künste". Since 1992, Bert Noack has been managing the foundry. Old monuments are restored and a lot of sculptures are cast for contemporary sculptors in Germany and abroad. The Noacks still practica the, lost wax process, and they are also able to cast bronze replicas from wooden originals. There is no doubt that Art Foundry Noack is ready to face the challenges of another one-hundred years, as well as those of the approachlng millenium.

Rainer Behrends, University Leipzig, Germany

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