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Demetre Chiparus A Master of Art Deco Sculptures

Demétre Chiparus (Demétre Haralamb Chiparus) was a Romanian sculptor who lived and worked in Paris, France during the Art Deco era. He is best known for his carved and patinated bronze sculptures of elegant Art Deco dancers and is considered to be one of the most important sculptors of that time period, and his work has been highly influential on later artists.

Demétre Chiparus The Dancer of Kapurthala
Demétre Chiparus sculpture The Dancer of Kapurthala. Patinated and gilt-bronze and ivory, on a stepped onyx base, signed on the plinth and stamped ‘Made in France and numbered 35’, 57cm high. Sold for £23,000 at Sworders, January 2021.

Chiparus was born in 1886, in a small town in Romania. In 1909 he travelled to Italy to study sculpture classes under master sculptor Raffaello Romanelli. In 1912 he moved to Paris to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

He first came to prominence in 1914, when several of his early sculptures were exhibited at The Salon in Paris. These works attracted the attention of wealthy patrons and critics alike and helped to establish Chiparus as one of the leading exponents of the Art Deco style. His early work also included a series of child figures.

Demétre Chiparus Antinea
Demétre Chiparus sculpture Antinea. Impressive cold-painted and patinated bronze and ivory figure, circa 1928 on marble and onyx base, base marked Etling Paris 26½ in. (67.4 cm.) high. Sold for £41,000 at Ewbanks, September 2018.

His work is characterized by its Art Deco style, as well as its use of exuberant, sometimes even whimsical, designs. Chiparus was greatly influenced by the Ballets Russes (Russian Ballet), French Theatre and Ancient Egypt. Many of his sculptures feature dancers in fanciful costumes and other pieces incorporated elements of mythology and folklore into his work. His female figures were full of movement and dynamism and were normally lithe with long and slender models. They often featured full flowing dresses, athletic equipment such as hoops and hounds.

Demétre H Chiparus Skittles
Demétre H. Chiparus sculpture Skittles. Gilded bronze and ivory sculpture, inscribed signature and number to side (3828), on a white marble base, 33cm across. Sold for £4,500 at Mallams, August 2018.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Chiparus was one of the most important sculptors of the Art Deco era. His work was highly influential, and he was praised by many art critics.  He died in Paris in 1947. His works are on display in museums around the world.

Demetre Chiparus Ballets Russes
Demetre Chiparus Ballets Russes. Rare figural group, C1925 signed on the marble D.H.Chiparus. Sold for £192,500 at Christies, April 2008.

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