Art Deco Bronze & Ivory Sculpture, ca. 1930

Value (2010) | $6,000 Retail$7,000 Retail

This was part of a collection my aunt had. She collected ice skating figures. She got this in New York City. She and my uncle were walking down the street and saw it in the window of a pawn shop, and they went in and purchased it. For what amount I don't know.

And when was that?

I would say in the 1960s. Well, what you've brought in is a wonderful Art Deco sculpture. It was probably made in France, probably in the 1920s or the early 1930s. It's cast bronze, and then the faces are carved out of elephant ivory. And it's been put on this base that's made out of onyx. And I think what's nice about the base is that it looks like it's ice. It's not signed, which is unfortunate. There were a number of important artists at this time who did these bronze and ivory groups. There was Demetre Chiparus and Ferdinand Preiss. And some research might be able to reveal specifically who this artist is. It appears like it's gilt bronze, but at one time this was actually painted.


We call it cold painted. There are some traces here of paint. And I have a feeling that all of this dress was painted, and the costumes of the man were painted also. And there are also some traces of paint on the underside. So that leads to some condition issues, and it affects the value. Because at one time this was really a very different piece. I think it's very attractive now. It looks wonderful. There's a great movement. There's this great interchange of expressions between the two figures. But it does have this condition issue. Bronze really is never left in this sort of raw state. It always has some kind of a patina put on it. If it was meant to be this color, the artist probably would have had it gilded.

Can it be restored? I mean, can these little places... probably not?

I don't think so. You'd have to really find out what it should look like. And I think that might be very difficult. And once you start painting it or putting a patina on it, it never really looks as good as it should. But I think the piece looks very nice this way, and I would think at a gallery specializing in Art Deco works, this would probably be in the $6,000 to $7,000 price range. Now, if it had the original paint and decoration on it, it would probably be worth twice that amount. And if it turned out to be by somebody like Chiparus, it could be worth four or five times that amount.

Appraisal Details

Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$6,000 Retail$7,000 Retail
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)

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