UPDATE: Nov 7, see below
This is Jerome, bought by my recently departed mother-in-law in 1968 in New York, nicknamed by my late father-in-law. Jerome is a little over two feet high, and about a foot wide at his base. He’s selling eggs, and he’s from what used to be called Yugoslavia.
Google identifies this writing as Croatian, but “a cup of raija bicanic eggs” isn’t a good translation.
Further study needed.
UPDATE: An online friend, Dominik Fabulic, provided a translation and some context:
ODKUPLJUJE JAJA – buys (purchases) eggs. RA. BICANIC J. – RA. may be RAD or RADIO – work (by) or worked (on by), BICANIC is a last name, J is the initial.
ODKUPLJUJE is a word you’d use when someone is buying something in large quantities to resell it, so the sculpture represents an egg merchant buying eggs from farmers to resell it, not someone just buying eggs for themselves. But he is definitely buying eggs, not selling them.
Google tells us there was a sculptor Josip Bićanića, from Cernik, born in 1927, died in 2002 (Google translate):
“Josip Bićanića was born on 19 March 1928 in a large family in the village of Sadilovac in Lika. That same year, he moved to Slavonia, near Vrbov near Nova Gradiska. He has been working with wood since an early age and has been doing sculpture since 1968. He started working life as a skilled craftsman, and evolved from craft to art. Behind him are numerous exhibitions at home and abroad. With twenty independent works, his works have taken the attention of more than 350 group exhibitions. He worked a lot in numerous art colonies. Since 1972 he has been a member of the Society of naive artists of Croatia. Among the many awards he was awarded was his sculpture opus and Croatian pleter.”