Designer Spotlight: Demetre Chiparus

Demétre Haralamb Chiparus (also known as Dumitry Chipārus) is a Romanian Art Deco era sculptor who lived and worked in Paris until his death. Chiparus was born September 16, 1886 in Dorohoi, Romania to Haralamb and Saveta Chiparus. When he was 23 Chiparus traveled to Italy where he studies under Italian sculptor Raffaello Romanelli. Three years later Chiparus traveled to Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts to pursue his artistic endeavors. While in Paris he studied under Antonin Mercie and Jean Boucher.

Chiparus’s first sculptures were life like sculptures of children and were exhibited at the Salon of 1914. His work was made from a combination of bronze and ivory called chryselephantine which was extremely popular during Ancient Greek times. Chryselephantine statues were typically build around a wooden frame with a thin slab of ivory attached (representing skin) and sheets of gold leaf applied to represent armor, jewelry, etc. Some sculptures had glass and precious stone affixed to them to represent eyes, hair, and weaponry.

Chiparus’s style didn’t fully develop until the 1029’s when he began sculpting long, lean, slender figures inspired by French theater, Russian ballet and early motion pictures. His work was then influenced by Egypt after Pharoah Tutankhamen’s tomb was excavated.

Chiparus is also credited with creating one of the most iconic bronze art deco pieces in 1928. His work was called “Danseuse au cerceau” or, “Ring Dancer” inspired by Folies Bergere dancer Zoula de Boncza  His next pieces garnered much attention but the beginning of World War 2 halted production on Chiparus’s work. The war brought on an economic situation that was not conducive to fostering the decorative arts.

From the the early 1940’s on, Chiparus had a hard time selling his art. He decided to sculpt for his own pleasure and began sculpting animals in his unique Art Deco style. His most well known pieces such as “Pelican,” “Polar Bear,” and “American Bison” were displayed at the Paris Salon in 1942. After Chiparus died in 1947 collectors lost interest in his work until resurgence in the 1970’s when, once again, Chiparus became highly desirable.


Cold- painted spelter and ivorine on onyx signed by the “Master of Art Deco” . Demetre H. Chiparus. Circa 1925, France.

AntiquitiesWeb is proud to offer a beautiful piece from Chiparus made from cold painted spelter and ivorine on onyx.  To see this piece and more call us at 212-644-4236, contact us, or visit our New York gallery.

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