Demetre Chiparus created many of his sculptures in plasterline and sold them to the foundaries who then paid him commissions for how many they sold, therefore many sculptures are unsigned or signed differently as in the case with this model signed Darcles. Other known pseudonym for Chiparus are Darcourt and Audin.
Demetre Haralamb Chiparus (also known as Dumitru Chiparus) (16 September 1886 in Dorohoi, Romania - 22 January 1947 in Paris, France) was a Romanian Art Deco* era sculptor who lived and worked in Paris.
He was born in Romania, the son of Haralamb and Saveta. In 1909 he went to Italy, where he attended the classes of Italian sculptor Raffaello Romanelli. In 1912 he traveled to Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts to pursue his art at the classes of Antonin Mercie and Jean Boucher.
Demetre Chiparus died in 1947 and was buried in Bagneux cemetery, just south of Paris.
The first sculptures of Chiparus were created in the realistic style and were exhibited at the Salon of 1914. He employed the combination of bronze and ivory, called chryselephantine, to great effect. Most of his renowned works were made between 1914 and 1933. The first series of sculptures manufactured by Chiparus were the series of the children.
The mature style of Chiparus took shape beginning in the 1920s. His sculptures are remarkable for their bright and outstanding decorative effect. Dancers of the Russian Ballet, French theatre, and early motion pictures were among his more notable subjects and were typified by a long, slender, stylized appearance. His work was influenced by an interest in Egypt, after Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb was excavated.
He worked primarily with the Edmond Etling and Cie Foundry in Paris administrated by Julien Dreyfus. Les Neveux de J. Lehmann was the second foundry which constantly worked with Chiparus and produced the sculptures of his models.
Chiparus rarely exhibited at the Salon. In 1923 he showed his Javelin Thrower, and in 1928 exhibited his Ta-Keo dancer. During the period of Nazi persecution and the World War II, the foundries discontinued production of work by Chiparus. The economic situation of that time was not favorable to the development of decorative arts and circumstances for many sculptors worsened.
Since the early 1940s almost no works of Chiparus were sold, but he continued sculpting for his own pleasure, depicting animals in the Art Deco style. At the 1942 Paris Salon, the plaster sculptures Polar Bear and American Bison were exhibited, and in 1943 he showed a marble Polar Bear and plaster Pelican.
Sculptures of Dimitri Chiparus represent the classical manifestation of Art Deco style in decorative bronze ivory sculpture. Traditionally, four factors of influence over the creative activity of the artist can be distinguished: Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, ancient Egyptian art, and French theatre. Early motion pictures were among his more notable subjects and were typified by figures with a long, slender, stylized appearance. Some of his sculptures were directly inspired by Russian dancers.
Quite often, Chiparus used the photos of Russian and French dancers, stars and models from fashion magazines of his time.
After the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922, the art of ancient Egypt and the East came to French fashion and is also reflected in the creative activity of Chiparus. Several sculptures by Dimitri Chiparus and Claire Colinet represent queen Cleopatra and Egyptian dancers. The sculptures of Chiparus reflect his time and 1920-1930s sentiment of "folle".
Coming from the oldest French tradition of high-quality and extra-artistic decorative arts, the sculptures of Dimitri Chiparus combine elegance and luxury, embodying the spirit of the Art Deco epoch.