Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent

Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent.

Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent

PRESENTING A HIGHLY DESIRABLE piece of America History and American Art….an Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent.

This is a large Early 20th Century bronze bust, circa 1925, cast by the WORLD FAMOUS bronze Foundry of Kunst New York.

The bust is of a ‘Distinguished Gentleman’ as yet not fully identified……but we have an opinion on it’s identity.


"PRESIDENT Franklin D. Roosevelt's funeral cortege departed,

on its way to the final resting place, from a cluttered industrial yard on

India Street in Greenpoint.

Steve Makky kept a careful eye on its departure: He had, after all, helped

create it and prepare it for the road.

"It was 30 feet long and 6 feet high," he recalls. "We cast it in sections and

welded them together here. It left here in one piece on a flatbed truck."

The cortege, now installed in Washington's Roosevelt Memorial, was a monumental

sculpture created by Leonard Baskin and cast in bronze by Bedi-Makky Art


It is an old business, and Makky is the most recent of at least four owners. It

once was the Kunst foundry, on East 79th Street in Manhattan. When Kunst died,

two Hungarian foundrymen named Bedi and Rassy bought the business, renamed it

Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry and moved it to Greenpoint sometime in the 1940s.

Makki, who lives in Flushing, joined the business in 1960, five years after he

escaped from Hungary at the age of 18. "Later I bought out Mr. Rassy," he says.

"Then I bought out Mr. Bedi."

Read More at: https://www.newsday.com/business/city-co-a-bronze-age-in-brooklyn-art-foundry-s-monumental-casts-characters-1.253053





Kunst were one of the PREMIER bronze foundry's in the US in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries....noted for making sculptures for the Rockerfeller Center, and various war monuments in Washington DC. They worked with the greatest sculptors of the day and they were considered the best of the best at what they did. Kunst works are EXTREMELY RARE and HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER. Kunst bronzes have sold at Auction for considerable sums. They were acquired by Bedi Makky in the late 1920's (confirmed to me by Mr. Bill Makky himself). Beddi Makky are still in existence as a high-end foundry in Brooklyn, NY to this very day.



We are of the opinion that this MAY VERY WELL be a bust of George Franklin Getty (father of John Paul Getty). There are a number of reasons for this opinion:- (1) the story of the piece is that it was acquired at an auction of a failed Saving & Loans Bank in Dallas, TX in the 1980's. It was sold as being in the CEO's former office....this leads us to believe that there is a world of finance connection to the piece, (2) we contacted Bedi Maky in NY and spoke to Mr. Bedi. Unfortunately, no records were kept of Kunst works and they could not help us, but they did inform us that they acquired Kunst in the 1920's and not the 1930's as appeared from internet record searches. This meant that our the bust MUST be from the 1920's at the latest and that the Sitter would have to have been in his 50's or 60's when the bust was sculpted, (3) we 'threw' a photo of the piece out to the worldwide web on facebook (a Global antique discussion group and sought suggestions on identity)....the most likely candidate proposed was John Paul Getty and the bust does look a lot like him...BUT....if it was made in the mid 20's then JPG would be too young to be this sitter. Then someone suggested his father, George Franklin Getty. We found a photo of him and compared the bust in a side by side photo. We then ran it through facial recognition software and it came in as an 83% likelihood that they were one and the same.....not perfect but pretty darned close for a bust!!!! We emailed the Getty Museum but received no reply.

George Franklin Getty (October 17, 1855 – May 31, 1930) was an American lawyer, pioneer oilman, father of industrialist J. Paul Getty, and patriarch of the Getty family.

Getty was born in 1855 in Allegany County, Maryland, to Martha Ann (Wily) and John Getty (1835-1861), who was the son of James Getty and the grandson of another John Getty, a Ulster Scots planter Presbyterian who immigrated to America and was a relative of the namesake of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.[2] However, Robert Lenzner wrote in his book The Great Getty that Gettysburg was founded by the Gettys family, not Getty.[3] Shortly after his birth Getty's family moved from Maryland to Ohio where his father died in 1861. Getty was forced to work at a young age until his uncle, Joseph Getty, provided funds for George to attend school. Getty earned a Bachelor of Science from Ohio Northern University in 1879.

Eventually Getty married and attended law school at the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the bar. In 1884, George F. Getty moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he specialized in insurance and corporate law and made a good living in what was the "flour capital" of America. In 1890 his first child, a daughter, died in a typhoid epidemic that hit the city. In 1892, the Gettys had another child, a son, Jean Paul Getty (later known as J. Paul Getty).

In 1904, the Gettys moved from Minnesota to Oklahoma, where George began a career as an independent oilman. Within two years, he had amassed a fortune from his Minnehoma Oil Company and moved his family to Los Angeles, California. In 1913, George lent his son Jean Paul (then aged 21) money to invest in oil wells. By 1915, Jean Paul had made his first million and the following year George and Jean Paul incorporated the Getty Oil Company, later to become Getty Oil.

George never approved of Jean Paul's lifestyle.[citation needed] Perhaps this is why he did not leave the company in the sole control of his son. George F. Getty died in 1930. He left his estate, in the form of the controlling interest in the family firm "George F. Getty, Inc.", and valued at between $10 million and $15 million U.S. ($146.49 million and $219.74 million, respectively, in 2017), to his wife Sarah, although Jean Paul Getty became President of the firm.

Jean Paul Getty's eldest son, George Franklin Getty's grandson, was named George Franklin Getty II (1924–1973), and was an executive in the Getty Oil company until his death. His residence, Getty House, was then donated to the city, and became the official residence of the serving Mayor of Los Angeles.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Getty

George Franklin Getty (1855-1930).jpg

Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent.

George Franklin Getty lived in Oklahoma at the turn of the Century (not far from Dallas) and he would have been wealthy and powerful enough to have his bust commissioned by Kunst in NY.

The similarities are STRIKING .... compare the nose, the ears, the mouth, the chin and dimples. In particular, compare the eyelids....both have a slightly higher left eyebrow than the right....UNCANNY!!

WE CANNOT SAY FOR CERTAIN that this is George Franklin Getty....BUT.....we are of the opinion that there is an 83% likelihood that it is!!


Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent....possibly George Franklin Getty.

Provenance: From a Private Collection in Dallas.

Condition:  Mint.

Dimensions: 18" Tall, 8.5" deep and 6.25" wide.

Price: $30,000.00. Sale Price Now: $22,500.00

Early 20C Kunst Bronze Bust of Distinguished Gent