Demétre Chiparus (1886-1947) is one of the greatest exponents of Art Deco sculpture. Born in Romania, he studied first in Italy with the sculptor Raffaello Romanelli and in 1912 he moved to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts under the direction of Jean Boucher and Antonin Mercie.
The Art Deco style is associated with both luxury and modernity, combining expensive materials, exquisite craftsmanship and modern forms. Chiparus perfects the chrysolelephantine technique, combining materials such as ivory and bronze on elegant onyx or marble bases. The demand for decorative objects for residences, new hotels and large ocean liners push the market and ensure the success of sculptors and decorators.
Chiparus’s sculptures exude exoticism and reflect the Parisian culture of the time. Excavations at Pompeii, Troy and the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in Egypt awaken the fascination of society and inspire artists and designers to integrate oriental motifs into their work. Another constant source of inspiration for Chiparus, particularly visible in the sculpture that will soon be tendered by Setdart, is the ballet and especially the Ballets Russes. The famous company created in 1907 by the Russian businessman Sergei Diaghilev brought together the best dancers of the Imperial Ballet of the Mariinsky Theater and caused a furor among French society at the time. In the work “The Secret” we can see two stylized female figures with dresses that recall ballet tutus.
Art Deco, one of the first truly international styles, came to an end with the beginning of World War II, giving way to a more rigid and functional style. However, the market for Chiparus’s elegant works remains buoyant: his most sought-after pieces fetch prices of up to half a million euros at auction.