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Demetre Chiparus “Balancing Act”

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About this chryselephantine sculpture
An art deco chryselephantine statue of a woman standing on one leg on an onyx pedestal, balancing two stacked bronze blocks that she holds up in her hands. This is a fairly rare sculpture by Chiparus. The statue is signed in the bronze plaque in the onyx pedestal. This statue has a better signature than the one shown in Alberto Shayo’s book, which lacks the bronze plaque.

The dress is made of gilded bronze, and the legs, arms and head are carved from ivory. Because of this combination of ivory with gilt bronze, these statues are referred to as chryselephantine.

About D.H. Chiparus (1886-1947)
Born in Romania, he traveled to Paris in 1914 to exhibit at the Salon des Artistes. He produced most of his sculptures between 1914 and 1933 in Paris where he was able to meet other artists who inspired him. He has been called the “Master of the Art Deco” and for good reason. His work is collected around the world because of the high quality of the carving of the ivory in the sculptures and the high quality of the patination of the often fanciful female dancers.
His work from the 1920s was influenced by the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Egyptian influences can be found in numerous of his sculptures, for example in the Egyptian Dancer, which was in the collection of Art Deco Doesburg.
Other themes present in his work are dancers from the Russian ballet and French theatre life. The often female figures are tall and slender and are often depicted in a moving pose.
Chiparus worked primarily with bronze caster Etling Paris.

Due to the preciousness of the statues, many of these have been counterfeited since the 1970s. Only the expert can distinguish the genuine from the sometimes well counterfeit later editions.

Signature / Marks

signed on the socle in the bronze plate: DH Chiparus

Height

45cm / 17.7"

Year/Period

±1925

Literature

Alberto Shayo, Chiparus, Master of Art Deco, Woodbridge, 2016

Object no.: 11255 Category:

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