HISTORY AND TRADITION
ARS SACRA 1875
The Stuflesser Family
The Ars Sacra 1875 Ferdinand Stuflesser studio is privileged to be the studio with the most years of experience and existence in the Gardena valley. Our work has been carried out by the same family for 132 years and five generations.
The fifth generation will continue to mantain the high standards and positive reputation of the Stuflesser name. Both children, Filip and Robert Stuflesser, have been educated in Italian, Austrian and English schools. One of the main objectives of the art studio Ars Sacra 1875 Ferdinando Stuflesser is:
impressive architectural and planning capabilities, while Robert shows
strengths in marketing and customer service. The quality control
of the works is still executed by their father Ferdinando, who has accumulated
expertise in the field over the last 40 years. It is to his
children’s merit that informatics have been introduced and integrated
into the studio’s processes as well as the overall use of the
personal computer in the studio, which nowadays plans its projects on
paper and on screen. The two brothers continue this family tradition
with initiative and enthusiasm.
IV. Generation /1973 - 2004/
The fourth generation began in the 1960s, when Stuflesser Ferdinando took over the family business. Ferdinando, who still runs the studio, was educated in Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. He is renowned for his tireless search for improvement, perfection and for the guarantee of quality necessary for a healthy customer satisfaction. He gives great importance to our vast Archive, which gives us the ability to trace sculptures carved in our workshops in the past. The Archive also gives us an indispensable selection of original sketches and drawings. Having travelled around the United States of America and Italy, he has built up an impressive network of business relations.
Ferdinando led this generation with the invaluable collaboration of his wife Marlene Comploj, who still works in the office.
Ferdinando is the creator of the present trademark and of the name Ars Sacra 1875 Ferdinand Stuflesser. Having chosen to specialize in restoring, Ferdinando also has had the pleasure of restoring works which were created by his grandfather and great-grandfather – a task which he considers to be a huge honor and privilege for him. He also carved quite a few monuments. One of the most appreciated works was the cast bronze carvings representing the four Evangelists St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John and St. Luke in Miami, Florida.
The third generation began with Ferdinand Stuflesser II, who had been managing the Art Studio from 1939 onwards. During World War II the workshops were closed. After having overcome the initial difficulties after World War II, Ferdinand II developed a type of wood treatment which is still used and praised in our workshops.
He made a distinct contribution to the growth and fame of the studio. Many of the creations of his period can be found in Italy, Germany and in the United States of America.
/ *1883 †1958
The second generation of our studio was led by Johann Stuflesser, who was born in 1883. He continued this ancient tradition traveling mostly through the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Working for the Catholic Community, specialized ecclesiastical retailers and dealers, Johann was indisputably known for his entrepreneurial capabilities. It was his idea to set up an exhibition department as a part of the studio, where, to this day, people can admire our carved works. The second generation was, at one point, somewhat slow-moving, as a result of four years of inactivity during World War I between 1914 and 1918. In 1918, Ortisei, which now lies on the Italian-Austrian border, suddenly went from Austrian to Italian. This change in geographical boundaries led to an increase in Italian customers and sales.
I. Generation /1875 - 1910/
/ * 1855 † 1926 /
The originator of the art studio Ars Sacra 1875 Ferdinand Stuflesser was Ferdinand Stuflesser I, who was born in 1855. He was one of the most enterprising woodcarvers of that period. Having learned the art of woodcarving from his relatives, he registered the studio as a business in 1875 (first provable registration).
His father, Johann Evangelist Stuflesser, traveled around ancient Europe between 1840 and 1855, selling his skilled craft. Johann Evangelist was part of the business “Sanoner, Stuflesser & Mahlknecht”, which sold its goods in the Rue Mercière in Lyon, France. Johann Evangelist was found dead in 1857 in Marseille, France.
The founder Ferdinand, a pioneer in the field of ecclesiastical crafts, created this unique workshop because of his passion for the art. He was supported by his wife Anamaria Senoner, whose language skills were appreciated for the correspondence with foreign customers.
Experience, courage to develop new techniques and skilful artistic ability had always been the aim of the young woodcarver. His studio, which was sub-divided in three workshops, was situated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was able to organize and employ planners, 16 sculptors and eight carpenters. Additionally 100 sculptors worked for the firm in their homes. The painter master, Luis Kostner, employed around 24 craftsmen, ranging from painters and gilders. In the period between 1880 and 1914 the firm had so many clients that it was able to create 70 Altars in just one year (this from our yearbooks).
What was the key strength of this studio so that it was able to operate internationally at the end of the nineteenth century? Without any doubt the quality of the creations, the sense of responsibility we still have for the creations that leave our workshops, the communication with our artists and customers and the constant technological innovation. The carvings of this first era, which include Statues, Stations of the Cross and majestic Altars, can, to this day, be admired in churches, monasteries and convents in Italy and in the Austro-Hungarian nations, including actual Austria, Poland and Russia. Some of the creations also reached as far as Australia.
Ferdinand started with the Stuflesser Archive, which is still used to inspire our works and to identify and trace some of the works that have left our workshops in the past.
During the early days, the art studio was continually growing. It participated at numerous international fairs and won several prizes.The Ars Sacra 1875 Ferdinand Stuflesser studio also won prizes for its activity in the ecclesiastical field. Around the 1890s, the art studio received important awards, such as:
Stuflesser - IV. Generation
Filip - V. Generation
Robert - V. Generation
of a mission statement is clear and logic, because "if you don't
know where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go”.
(Text and photos used by permission from Robert Stuflesser)
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TRADEMARK OF THE WOODEN SCULPTURE
The trademark for wooden sculptures produced exclusively and entirely by hand.
In order to protect the sculptors of woodcarvings, which are exclusively produced by hand, the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano has decided to certify the genuineness of this procedure. This certification is made in two successive stages: a trademark, duly registered, is attached to the object, and a certificate is issued declaring that it is entirely and exclusively hand-made.
which must be claimed, consists of a metal disc, bearing the inscription “ENTIRELY
The application of the trademark is done by an expert chosen by the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano. After the work has been completed and carefully examined, the expert issues the certificate, which is an official document of the Chamber of Commerce, numbered progressively and containing all the information necessary for the unmistakable identification of the woodcarving.
Since its founding, the Art Studio FERDINAND STUFLESSER has maintained a mission to preserve the beauty and vitality of the sculpted works.
Our long tradition has great value and is at the base of the work we still carry out: the past helps us to avoid mistakes. We are also sure that the given references give you trust.
The Art Studio gives you a guarantee of 5 years in case of natural decay (examples: color damage or clefts in the material). We do not cover theft, fire, or mistreatment.
The Art Studio has been working with hundreds of Churches in every part of the World. It wants to satisfy the special needs Churches can have. We don’t just offer you flexibility from us and our collaborators: we also offer you flexibility of payment. You can gladly buy on installments with 0% interest rate.
All our collaborators have a professional diploma in addition to their years of experience. Additionally the Customer has the advantage to be assisted and advised in technical terminology in three languages: English, Italian and German.
If you had more confidence in another studio or woodcarver, we can’t stop you: the trust in the Artist is one of the most important pieces in the Art mosaic.
Like the quality, the Price also has its explanations. Guaranteeing an incontestable quality and the use of first class material, our Price can in some cases overstep the competitor’s Price. If the competitors give you the same warranty and inspires you the same trust at a cheaper Price, we don’t want to oppose. Don’t forget that the Price reflects the value of the work, which increases year for year.
Don’t take us into consideration, if we weren’t able to be in syntony with your wishes or to satisfy your needs.
CUSTOM MADE (HAND-MADE) VS. PRODUCED ON PANTOGRAPH
Recognize the difference between unique creations and products from the pantograph
To see the difference
doesn’t seem to be too hard– but in fact it is. Nowadays, through
advanced technology, it is hard for people who don’t know the first
thing about it. It is difficult to judge if a sculpture is entirely
hand-carved (so it is unique) or produced on a pantograph milling
machine (there are plenty of identical ones).
Firms or shops should always give their customers advice on how a sculpture is carved. Dear Customer, always remember to ascertain the origin of the woodcarving; e.g. the used method (hand or machine) and ask for the certificate in case you bought a sculpture exclusively carved by hand.
Ours is a creation, not a production of woodcarvings.
We hope that this list of references can additionally raise the trust in us. The Studio has realised several works, such as Altars, Statues and more also in:
Miami (United States of America),
Natal (South Africa),
Olomouc (Czech Republic),
More Photos (click on photo to enlarge):