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Demetre ChiparusRussian Dancers (c 1925)
By Demetre Chiparus
Gilt, patinated and enamelled bronze and ivory, on mottled red and portor marble base; base engraved ‘DH Chiparus’
Height: 56 centimetres (22 inches)
Estimated price: $40,000-60,000
Price realised: $68,500

Art Deco, the consummately refined and much celebrated style of the early 20th century, married respect for classical forms with a desire to reduce them to their purest elements.

Russian Dancers by the renowned Romanian sculptor Demetre Chiparus (1886-1947) presents a classic manifestation of Art Deco style. Chiparus, who lived and worked in Paris, initially created sculptures of children, moving on to focus on themes of French theatre, Egypt (following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb), dancers of the Russian ballet (such as the present work), and early cinema. His highly stylised works are characterised by long limbed slender figures and sinuous forms which are imbued with great elegance and decorative beauty.

In this work, Chiparus was inspired by acclaimed dancers Vaslav Nijinsky and Ida Rubinstein who performed in Sergei Diaghilev’s Scheherazade in Paris, in 1910. This Ballet Russes production was based on a Rimsky-Korsakov poem about the Arabian Nights and narrated the tragic love affair of a sultana and her slave. In Russian Dancers, Chiparus references the avant-garde costume designs of Leon Bakst which Diaghilev commissioned.

Christie’s sale of 20th century Decorative Art will take place in London on May 1, 2013. For more information please visit www.christies.com.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 28, 2013.