Posted 6 months ago
A week ago I found a little boy in a billy-cart and at the same shop a little Pessimist. The scruffy haired lad was on a shelf hidden away but the look in his eyes grabbed my attention. I couldn’t do anything but take him away from all of that rubbish. He needed rescuing. There was hope!
He was a vintage example as you can see by the condition of the rope arms. The rope arms are flexible and can be changed in position by taking his head off and on. I have decided to keep him in this position rather than disturbing the posture and the feel of the piece.
I have been aware of these little sculptures for years but have never come across a Pessimist by Hans Bølling before. The ticket price was $2 and the deal was made.
There are re-editions being made these day. Therein lies a problem for me. This little guy does not have an impressed mark. His eyes are painted on. The new ones are inlaid with ebony and maple.
Is he original or is he a copy?
Perhaps I have become the pessimist?
Is there someone out there who can give me more information?
The Optimist and the Pessimist were designed in 1963.
They were originally made by Torben Ørskov & Co.
Both are slightly different. The optimist has a slash of a smile cut into his face. The pessimist has those pursed lips …. or is he whistling?
He and his missing friend were inspired by the personalities of two colleagues.
“When one looks at the pair however, it is through subtle differences in facial expression and posture that they their personalities.
Both the Optimist and Pessimist can express much more positivity or negativity. The Pessimist slumps with sad eyes, while the Optimist has a big smile on his face. At the same time, however, both have flexible arms that can be placed above their heads in exclamation of happiness or surprise.
Hans Bølling was born in Braband in 1931. He established his own workshop in 1955 and was later educated at the School of Architecture at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Since then, Bølling has enjoyed great success as an architect and he has designed everything from small dolls to villas, apartment complexes and town halls.
The Optimist and Pessimist are handmade in teak wood and their hair is made out of rabbit fur. Their arms are made out of thinly spun cotton with copper wires inside. Their eyes are made out of maple wood and ebony.
Ørskov & Co.
"In 1953 Torben Ørskov established the company of Ørskov & Co. and opened the first of a total of 5 retail outlets. From the very beginning the philosophy was clear, namely to design and produce functional and aesthetic articles at a reasonable price. The ideas of the post-war period were to prepare the way for an interest in buying articles to brighten up the homes. Ørskov & Co. have always cooperated with most of the well established designers in Denmark. Over the years a vast number of exciting and at times pioneer designs have been made, which have continued to be a source of inspiration for many. The articles have also become very popular abroad and the result has been contacts and cooperation with design shops and design museums worldwide."