- Other Title
- Italian Ministry for War Memento [from 1911 - 1916]
- Place where the work was made
- Media category
- Materials used
- bronze plaque
- 16.3 x 21.4 x 0.7 cm
- Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, incised "DORA OHLFSEN". Not dated
- Gift of Michael Cain and Ian Adrian 2019
- Not on display
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Dora Ohlfsen, born in Ballarat, Victoria in 1869 rose to artistic promise at an early age. Her European roots stemmed from parents of Scandinavian descent, who had migrated to Australia to prosper in the newfound colonies. The Olfsen-Bagge family upbringing nurtured talents in music, languages and the arts. Fluent in German, and distinguished as an accomplished student of piano, Dora studied music in Berlin under the skilled composer Moritz Moszkowski, however a sudden onset of neuritis in her arm hindered a professional music career. In St. Petersburg, she met with her lifelong partner, the well-connected Elena von Kügelgen, and the pair freely participated in Russian social and cultural events before eventually moving to Italy in 1902.
Studying informally at the French Academy in Rome, alongside Prix de Rome artists such as the sculptor Camille Alaphilippe, and the influential engraver Pierre Dautel, Dora became widely known for her aptitude in producing medallion art, and intimate ‘bas-relief’ portraits in bronze, gold and silver from her private studio and salon. Commissioned by the Italian Ministry ofWar in a competition organised by the Italian Cavalry Regiment, the 'Garra delle pattuglie, Roma' plaquette was given as an award to the “best scout” patrol in Italy for 1913. Dora Ohlfsen’s design shows strength and artistic merit and the revival of an artform which was “… of very ancient birth, and attained great perfection among the Romans and Greeks. For some centuries it seems to have declined, and was in some danger of becoming one of the lost arts; now it once more coming to the front” ("Portraits in medals" quoted in 'The British Australasian' July 26, 1906, pg. 7).
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Royal Art Society exhibition of Dora Ohflsen's medallions & statuettes (September 1912), Royal Art Society of New South Wales, Lavender Bay, 10 Sep 1912–Sep 1912
Referenced in 4 publications
Steven Miller and Eileen Chanin, Awakening, 'The ARTIST - Dora Ohlfsen', pg. 1-45, Adelaide, 2015, 24. Dora's reputation preceded her arrival. The Royal Art Society of New South Wales featured a special presentation of her work in its annual show. Her twenty works were described as a 'collection of fine medallions and statuettes such as are not often shown here' (quoted in 'Miss Dora Ohlfsen', The Lone Hand, 12 December 1912, p. xl.).
Miss Dora Ohflsen', The Sydney Mail, 'Plaquette, pg. 24, Sydney, 25 Sep 1912, 24. ... a reproduced example of the plaquettes, which were executed for the Italian Minister for War, as prizes for the best boy scouts of the year between 1911 and 1916.
Editor Unknown, The Freeman's Journal, 'Womans Page', pg. 28, Sydney, 12 Sep 1912, 28. A plaquette for Italian Cavalry Regiments caught the eye of a Sydney connoisseur, well-known for his unerring judgement as a lover of the best in art, and has been purchased by him.
Author Unknown, Sydney Morning Herald, 'The Ohlfsen Medallaion', pg. 20, Sydney, 11 Sep 1912, 20. One of her most interesting exhibits is the plaquette she was commissioned to execute by the Italian Minister for War for competition by the Italian cavalry regiment, as the prize for the best patrols (or scouts) of the year.
Other works by Dora Ohlfsen
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