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ABOUT THE ARTIST & How a Bronze is Made
Born and raised October 23, 1946 in Prague, Czech Republic, Vilem Zach spent numerous years
privately under the
mentorship of art professor Tesinsky. He later then found life unrewarding
he left his home land and moved to Canada in 1969.
Once settled in a new and free atmosphere, Vilem had the chance to explore mediums such as acrylics,
oils, pastels, and
even clay. He was able to transform his childhood dream into a full time profession. The
subjects Vilem focused on mostly
(and still does) is the Western Canadian Culture, the "Cowboy"
and "North American Indian". With such
emotions put into his work, Vilem shows us the
candid moments in detail of the western heritage.
In the summer of 1977, Vilem Zach exhibited his work at the Calgary Stampede, also known as the
Outdoor Show on Earth". He displayed his two dimensional works along with seven other artists at the time.
Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Vilem has exhibited with the world famous
Calgary Exhibition and Stampede
for the last forty years.
By 1978, Vilem became more established with his portraiture works.
He began exploration with sculpting pieces to be cast in bronze, a medium for which he is now
Many of Vilem Zach's life size statues and heroic size monuments can be seen at numerous
tourist attractions and in private collections. Some awards include: 1986 Calgary Time Capsule Monument;
1987 Olympic Torch Runners Monument (to commemorate the 16th Winter Olympic Games held in Calgary);
1988 Mr W.C. Van Horne statue,
which greets guests as they drive into the main courtyard of the
Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, and so many more.
Collectors include the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., Petro Canada, Canadian Pacific Hotels,
The Banff Museum, and the Calgary International Airport. Some private collectors include President Vaclav Havel of
the Czech Republic, Governor Frank Heating of Oklahoma, Ralph Lauren, and many more.
If you look closely (usually placed at the bottom in the back) on every one of his sculptures, Vilem uses an emblem
as a signature that is an imprint of a ring. The ring has been a longstanding family tradition
passed onto him, which he still wears to this day.
" Share The Flame "
Canada Olympic Park & Ottawa Gardens
ABOUT THE SCULPTURES
I'm sure you are asking yourself "how is it made?" Well, to help you understand the production of Vilem's
sculptures, he uses what is called the "Lost Wax" process which originated in 2500 BC.
Before starting anything, you need to create your piece from wax or clay. Vilem uses clay as it is much easier to shape,
and once that step is completed the mold is created. If the piece is too large, or has longer parts that may not
mold properly it is usually cut into two or more parts, depending on size and complexity. Lets take the
life-size "Torch Bearers" for example. This piece was divided into roughly 100 pieces in order to fit into the kiln.
Once the cutting part is complete, each piece has a two part mold, inside and outside.
The inside part of the mold is made of rubber, silicone or other flexible material and is confined by a solid outside
mold of plaster, fibreglass etc. The original is the removed, leaving a hollow rubber mold of the model a "negative".
Three coats of liquid wax is then poured into the cavity of the mold at different temperatures. The mold is then
centrifuged, so that all wax reaches the walls of the mold. the excess wax is then poured out and each layer
of wax must cool before the next is applied.
" William Van Horne "
Heroic Size , Banff Springs Hotel
After the third layer is cooled completey, the mold is removed from the wax section of the statue, it is now "chased".
The wax piece is then inspected to make sure all bubbles and imperfections are filled/fixed before it is
These are rods of wax that are attached to the wax mold, allowing air or any gasses out
while the pour is in
There is a silica mold poured on both inside and outside of the wax shell.
Then it is fired in the kiln at an
approximate temperature of 1000°-1250°F (538°-678°C). Most of the
wax is melted if not burned away, which is where
the term "Lost Wax" comes from.
" Lost in Thought "
YYC Calgary International Airport
To replace the wax, the bronze is finally poured into the mold. Once solid (yet still hot) the silica mold is
chipped away. Remember the 100 pieces made out of the life size "Torch Bearers"? This is when the sculpture is
then welded together.
The bronze is once again "chased" by re-sculpting and sandblasting and remaining imperfections before the final
step of colouring. This is all done by using different patinas (easily recognized as various chemical compounds or acids).
A torch heats the bronze before applying the acids to archive the desired coloration. Finally, to get the perfect shine
and coat of protection, there is a thin layer of wax put onto the final pieces.
Each and every bronze should be signed, numbered, and accompanied by the artists signed certificate.
" Our Land , Our Future "
Heroic Size, Calgary Stampede Grounds
Click the Bronze or here to view Vilem Zachs Work