To look at a Demetre Chiparus sculpture is to know the artist loved women. It would be impossible to sculpt the way he did without real passion for his subject.
Intimate, timeless, beauty came to life through his hands. The Art Deco sculptor specialized in dancers and captured their willowy, elegant form like few others.
He was active in the 1920s and today is regarded as a master of Art Deco bronzes. If you wanted to understand the fashions of the day, Chiparus sculptures are a place to look.
The close-fitting caps, pendant earrings, skin-tight garb, flowing fabrics—all wrapped around these slim, exotic beauties. He was fascinated by the dancers in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes who entertained the cafe society in Paris. He was also mesmerized by the performers in Parisian nightclubs.
In real life I imagine Chiparus in the middle of the dance floor spinning these sweet-smelling beauties around. They possess the kind of beauty and lighthearted sensibility that could stop a room full of people in their tracks.
Chiparus was probably the most talented of the Art Deco sculptors. He used ivory for his ladies faces, hands and bare flesh which gave the figures a more natural, lifelike look and exotic appeal.
His figurines were also known for their jewel-like costumes and fancy bases. Produced as multiples, the works were appreciated as small-scale decorative objects.
The secret to telling Chiparus period Chryselephantine (painted bronze with ivory) sculptures from reproductions--is in the details. Take the fingers as an example. A period Chiparus sculpture typically will have long, slim fingers so exact you can make out the fingernails.
On April 13 -14, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago featured two Chiparus bronzes in its Furniture and Decorative Arts auction.
Leotard; a kneeling beauty; bronze and ivory sculpture on onyx plinth base; foundry tag LN Paris JL on underside of base; 19 ¾ inches high; sold for $84,000.