Demetre Chiparus’ Semiramis statuette holds $243,000 estimate



2015-06-26 11:35:39

The rare Semiramis statuette is one of art deco artist Demetre Chiparus’ masterpieces

Semiramis, a masterpiece by famed art deco artist Demetre Chiparus, will take centre stage at Bonhams’ Decorative Arts from 1860 auction on November 19 in London.

The statuette depicts a dancing girl as Semiramis, the mythical queen of King Ninus of Assyria, who succeeded the throne following his death and is characterised as a strong ruler. Made from bronze and carved ivory, it is expected to sell for between £100,000 and £150,000 ($161,970-242,955).

Made in 1928, the figure is the epitome of art deco style, with the model dressed in exotic costume typical of the stage shows of the period. On tiptoes with arms spread wide, she is stood on a coloured marble base.

Chiparus’ sculptures have long been favoured by collectors for their fine detail and use of sumptuous materials – a reflection of the burgeoning wealth of the 1920s. Another example of Semiramis was selected by Linda McCartney for the front cover of the 1978 Wings Greatest Hits album.

Demetre Chiparus (1886-1947) was a Romanian educated in Italy, who then studied at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux Arts. His greatest works combine bronze and ivory in a technique known as chryselephantine.

“This iconic model by Demetre Chiparus is judged to be a masterwork of the Art Deco period. Semiramis’ elaborate costume shows the influence of Sergei Diaghilev and his designs for the Ballet Russes,” commented Bonhams’ director of design, Mark Oliver.

“She would have been a very expensive model to produce and very few are known to have survived. She casts a mesmerising spell on the viewer and I am anticipating international interest when she goes on view at our Knightsbridge salerooms this November.”

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