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John Wolfgang Elischer, Austrian Sculptor & Medallist (1891-1966)

Australia, 50th Anniversary of Commonwealth of Australia Schools Medal, Obverse

Image: Australia, 50th Anniversary of Commonwealth of Australia Schools Medal, Obverse

Source: Museum Victoria

John Wolfgang Elischer was an Austrian sculptor and medallist. His initials appear on the 1951 medal issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Commonwealth of Australian Schools (eg. NU 18764). An example of Elischer's sculptural work is held in the Eckhart G. Grohmann at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The sculpture, 'Foundryman', captures the grace and skill involved in pouring metal.

Elischer was born in Vienna in 1891. He trained at the Academy of Vienna from 1908 to 1911; won the Prix de Rome in 1909; and, around 1910-11, practiced under Rodin in Paris. He served in World War I, then freelanced as a sculptor; designed figures and animals for porcelain factories; and, in 1924-27, worked as art director for Ditman-Brunner, light fitting and novelty manufacturers. In 1926 he won an international competition for the South African Memorial to General Botha.

Elischer arrived in Australia in 1935. During his first year he was an industrial designer for pottery. Elischer, P. Hurry and John Farmer together held an exhibition of works at the Athenaeum, Melbourne, in June 1937. The catalogue lists 10 pieces of sculpture by 'John Wolfgang Elischer, A.R.A. (Associate of the Royal Academy) (Vienna)' (Copy in Museum Victoria History and Technology Department Supplementary File NU 18764).

Elischer later received commissions for sculptures including the King George V Memorial in Bendigo (1938), a bronze fountain for Sir Russell Grimwade in Toorak and a bust of Archbishop Mannix for Newman College, University of Melbourne. He won a prize for medal design in 1951.

Elischer died in 1966.

References:
State Library of Victoria Collection website http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/ accessed 09 Jan 2004.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinal April 27, 2003.
McCulloch A. (1984). Australian Encyclopaedia of Art.

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