Collecting Articles and Features

Clarice Cliff Bizarre Wall Masks of the 1930s

During the gloom of The Great Depression, Clarice Cliff went off trend and created several bright and colourful Art Deco wall masks including Chahar, Flora and Marlene.  Decorative ceramic masks had become fashionable in the 1920s and companies such as Goldscheider had had great success with them (for more see Collecting Goldscheider Wall Masks) and Clarice was to add her style to the genre. Each wall mask was based on a stylised female face and headdress. We take a look these three mask, showing some of the painting variations and some auction results giving a price guide.

Clarice Cliff Chahar wall mask
Clarice Cliff Chahar wall mask. This example sold for £650 at Fieldings, October 2018.

Chahar was created towards the end of the 1920s and was inspired by the style of the Egyptian revival (we have seen some descriptions of Chahar as Oriental style). It is one of the rarer Clarice Cliff wall masks being made until about 1933.  Chahar features mainly red, yellow and green colours.

Flora, as the name might suggest features a lady wearing a garland of flowers as a headdress. Flora was produced until around 1936. There is much more  variation in the Flora colours ranging from orange and greens to orange and blacks to purple and greens. Flora was produced in two sizes, the smaller measuring approximately 17cm high, with the larger measuring approximately 37cm high. The larger Flora having much more details and is much rarer.

Flora Small Version showing some colour variations

Flora Large Version showing some colour variations

Marlene was supposedly modelled on the famous actress of the time Marlene Dietrich. The mask features an ornate headdress with large earrings. She was the last to be design and similar to Flora she was produced until the late 1930s.

 

Related
Collecting Goldscheider Wall Masks
Clarice Cliff Bizarre Grotesque Masks by Ron Birks