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Art Deco statue that inspired Baz Luhrmann's Gatsby to sell at Bonhams
This model by Chiparus captures the essence of the Art Deco style that took its name from the 1925 Paris International Exposition. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A rare ‘Almeira’ statue by Demetre Chiparus is to be offered at Bonhams sale of 20th Century Decorative Arts on 19th June in Knightsbridge, where it is expected to fetch as much as £300,000.

Commenting on the statue, Mark Oliver Head of Design at Bonhams London says: “With the release of Baz Luhrmann’s new film of The Great Gatsby, the Jazz Age is very much in vogue. We are delighted to be showcasing the Art Deco masterpiece `Almeria’. It captures all the decadence and beauty of the world that Gatsby and his entourage moved in. Following the successful sale of the `Dolly Sisters’ by Bonhams last autumn, I feel that there will be heightened interest in this work by Chiparus, and I look forward to being the auctioneer on the day.”

This model by Chiparus captures the essence of the Art Deco style that took its name from the 1925 Paris International Exposition. Officially entitled the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, it was dedicated to the display of modern decorative arts. The exhibition brought together thousands of designs from all over Europe and beyond.

Paris in the 1920s was a hotbed of creativity. As well as artists, poets and writers, the city was frequented by Sergei Diaghilev’s itinerant Ballets Russes – perhaps the most important influence on Chiparus’s work of the period. Among the dancers would have been such talents as Anna Pavlova and Bronislava Nijinska. It is Nijinska in particular who it is thought to have inspired Almeira. Meanwhile, Leon Bakst’s stage sets and costume designs for the Ballet informed Chiparus’s eye for colour and costume.

Great care was taken to paint the bronze and carve the ivory to create a style that was cutting edge and `futuristic’. It was a style that that emphasised the freedom and independence of woman in the new following the First World War. ‘Almeira’ would have only been available to order but the cost of production at the time would indicate that fewer than five large size models were ever executed.

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