Bronze Sculptor 1877 - 1943
Friedrich Gornik was born in Austria in 1877. During the early parts of his career, he studied sculpture at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. Like Carl Kauba, Gornik was fascinated by the American West, and especially the Indians and Cowboys associated with it.
His first works were small models of animals, carried out for the many porcelain factories in Austria at the time. After several years working for the porcelain manufacturers, Gornik started having his sculptures cast in bronze. Many of these included farm animals and dogs and several large models of mounted horsemen. He also created small decorative items like desk sets, bell pushes and inkwells.
One of his first pieces was a sculpture of a cowboy on a horse, reflecting Gornik's interest in the American Western folklore. The action is well captured as the cowboy rides, twirling his lasso above his head. It was cast by the Arthur Rubenstein foundry in Vienna and features the foundry's mark on the base. The bronze has a dark brown patina and is mounted on the original 1 1/8" thick green marble base. He also created a naturalistic group of horses, the Troika, that still to this day stands in the Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl.
Gornik's works are of incredible quality and reflect his attention to detail when it comes to both the mental and the physical. He was also co-founder of the Carinthian Kunstverein and his works are represented in several museums, including the Austrian Gallery Belvedere and the Museum of Military History.
Sadly Freidrich Gornik passed away in 1943, at the age of 66.