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Demetre H. Chiparus Art Deco Clara Sculpture

clara art decoOne of the finest Art Deco sculptures has been sold at Bonhams this evening (14th December) for $98,500 at Bonhams in New York. This was against an estimate of $100,000-$200,000.

Clara, one of the finest examples of Art Deco sculpture ever produced, epitomizes the work of Demetre H. Chiparus. Roumanian by birth, Chiparus arrived in France in 1912, and by 1914 he exhibited his first work at the Paris Salon. He was fascinated with the modern women of the performing arts and inspired by the exotic orientalism of the Ballet Russes and the music and theater of the day. Although Clara is not known to embody a specific character, the work posseses great theatricality, grace, costume design and workmanship. As noted by Alberto Shayo, author and leading authority on the artist, only four examples of this piece are known.

About Demetre Chiparus

The first sculptures of Chiparus were created in the realistic style and were exhibited at the Salon of 1914. He employed the combination of bronze and ivory, called chryselephantine, to great effect. Most of his renowned works were made between 1914 and 1933. The first series of sculptures manufactured by Chiparus were the series of the children.

The mature style of Chiparus took shape beginning in the 1920s. His sculptures are remarkable for their bright and outstanding decorative effect. Dancers of the Russian Ballet, French theatre, and early motion pictures were among his more notable subjects and were typified by a long, slender, stylized appearance. His work was influenced by an interest in Egypt, after Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb was excavated.

He worked primarily with the Edmond Etling and Cie Foundry in Paris administrated by Julien Dreyfus. Les Neveux de J. Lehmann was the second foundry who constantly worked with Chiparus and produced the sculptures of his models.

Chiparus rarely exhibited at the Salon. In 1923 he showed his “Javelin Thrower” and in 1928 exhibited his “Ta-Keo” dancer. During the period of Nazi persecution and the World War 2 the foundries discontinued production of work by Chiparus. The economic situation of that time was not favorable to the development of decorative arts and circumstances for many sculptors worsened.

Since the early 1940s almost no works of Chiparus were sold but the he continued sculpting for his own pleasure, depicting animals in the Art Deco style. At the 1942 Paris Salon, the plaster sculptures “Polar Bear” and “American Bison” were exhibited and in 1943 he showed a marble “Polar Bear” and plaster “Pelican”.

Collector interest in the work of Chiparus appeared in the 1970s and has flourished since the 1990s.

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Demetre Chiparus A Master of Art Deco Sculptures

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