Demetre Chiparus Bronze & Marble Sculpture, ca. 1930

Value (2010) | $100,000 Retail
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GUEST:
We were in France for a business trip, and I had a chance to go either to Versailles or to the flea market, and I chose going to the flea market. I'd always heard about it, always envisioned it, and this is where I went.

APPRAISER:
You found this, and when was that?

GUEST:
That was in '61, '62.

APPRAISER:
So almost 50 years ago.

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, you know who the artist is. It's by a Romanian artist named Demetre Chiparus.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And he was one of the leading sculptors of the Art Deco period. So he worked basically in the 1920s and 1930s. And this work that you have is really incredible. It's gilt bronze, and this is carved marble. He did a number of works that had mixed materials. He's really well known for having done bronzes that had ivory in them that were further painted. His work is really quite rare, and as a matter of fact, even though I'm saying that it's rare, we see more Chiparuses on the Antiques Roadshow than any other sculpture. There's only one reason, though. Most of the Chiparuses we see are fake.

GUEST:
Oh, they are?

APPRAISER:
But you're lucky enough to have one that is authentic. It is a genuine Chiparus from the 1920s, from the 1930s. What's so interesting about yours is the size of it. Most of the Chiparuses are sort of this big or this big, and you have the giant economy size Chiparus. It was a hassle to get it home, I can tell you that. Well, you're lucky that you persevered. It's in great condition. It's gilt bronze, and then this has a brown patina on it, and you have the marble and it's slightly tinted here. This piece is called The Clown's Dream in the literature. Over here we have the signature. It's signed "Chiparus." Now, you didn't pay very much for it at the Paris flea market, did you?

GUEST:
(chuckling): No, I didn't. 50 dollars.

APPRAISER:
50 dollars.

GUEST:
I'm embarrassed to say.

APPRAISER:
Chiparus's works are very desirable now. There's a strong influence of Russians on the market, and the Russian collectors like Chiparus. I could see a value for this in a gallery of $100,000.

GUEST:
Oh, m... Oh... my... goodness. Oh, my goodness. Oh! I am shh... I am... beyond shocked. I had... Oh! Whew!

APPRAISER:
And the market is very strong for this. This is extraordinarily unusual in this size. And the condition also is just extraordinary. It has everything going for it across the board.

GUEST:
It... It means a lot to me.

APPRAISER:
Well, that's good.

GUEST:
I really... love the piece. I cannot believe it. Thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$100,000 Retail
Event
Des Moines, IA (August 07, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Form
Sculpture
Material
Bronze, Gilded, Marble

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