Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chiparus Master of Art Deco

Demetre H. Chiparus, born in Romania in 1886, was the sculptor of the Art Deco Period.

Some of his most exciting and collectable works were created during the period 1914-1933. His favourite subjects were dancers, especially those of the French and Russian theatre, early film, and the opera.

He was a master of the chryselephantine technique, which combined bronze and ivory to produce stylish and dramatic results.

In 1922 when Tutankhamen's tomb was excavated, Chiparus designed statuettes which reflected his interest for all things exotic and Egyptian.

Egyptian Dancer

'Semiramis'. c.1928

Semiramis was a legendary figure generally associated with beauty and lust--leitmotifs often found in theatrical productions of the 1920s. Sometimes called the Queen of Babylon, according to one legend, Semiramis was a Syrian noble, who lusted after the beautiful King Ara of Armenia. He rejected her advances and she subsequently led an army against him and he was killed in battle. In The Divine Comedy, Dante condemned Semiramis to the second circle of Hell, reserved for the lustful, and Voltaire depicted her as a similarly predatory woman.
source: Christies auctions

'Fan Dancer' c.1928

'Antinea'. c.1928

Antinea, queen of the desert kingdom of Atlantis, was popularized in the 1919 novel, L'Atlantide, by Pierre Benoit, and the subsequent silent film, which was released in October 1921. The film was wildly successful and ran for more than a year in theaters, only to be revived in 1928. Antinea was characterized as a seductive temptress, who lured men to her lair only to enbalm them in gold after she had her way with them. Scantily clad and wearing an Egyptian style headdress, Chiparus effectively captured Antinea's Oriental mystique.

source: Christies auctions

'Leotard'. c.1928.
A very rare Chiparus, of which only two are known to exist.

'Ring Dancer' c.1928
Said to be modeled after the
Folies Bergere dancer Zoula de Boncza.

As desirable as they are, sadly, I can only dream of owning an antique Chiparis statue - some of the examples above have sold for anything up to US$250,000.


Nick (CFKS) said...

Those are fantastic.

artdecobuildings said...

The pictures are great and I've been lucky enough to see a few Chiparus figures up close and they are magnificent.

Hels said...

They ARE seductive sculptures, aren't they? The athleticism of the models, the colours, the materials, the artistic skills of a master sculptor! Thanks for the link


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