Gatsby's Girl makes £1/4million at Bonhams

Decorative Arts from 1860
19 Jun 2013
London, New Bond Street

'Alméria' dancer modelled on Russian ballet sells for £265,250

Alméria, the dancing girl figure by Chiparus was star of the 20th Century Decorative Arts sale at Bonhams London today, 19th June. She was secured by a bidder on the telephone for £265,250.

With Gatsby fever upon us, the roaring twenties jazz age is back in vogue. A host of dancing girl sculptures by Demetre Chiparus and Ferdinand Preiss led the way in the auction making up seven of the top ten lots.

Chiparus' Tanara a seated ballerina figure was second in line, doubling its estimate and selling for £52,850 after lengthy contest between two telephone bidders. A number of bidders had their heart set on Chiparus' figure, The Ball Game which sold for ten times its estimate at £18,750.

Other highlights were ivory and bronze figures by Ferdinand Preiss, Spring Awakening sold for £28,750 and Lighter than Air was flying high at £23,750.

Mark Oliver, Director of 20th Century Decorative Arts at Bonhams, commented, "Alméria was secured by a great collector of Art Deco works who fell in love with the dancing girl figure and felt inspired to bid. The collector is delighted to own Alméria and she will be travelling overseas to her new home. French Art Deco objects basked in the newly revived popularity of Art Deco which The Great Gatsby film has inspired. For instance, a section of Després vases did particularly well, some selling for three times the estimates."

Alméria, the iconic bronze and ivory sculpture by Chiparus was created circa 1925 and is thought to be modelled on the ballerina and choreographer, Bronislava Nijinska, who was a pioneer in modernising ballet. She is one of Chiparus' most rare and visually dramatic studies. Only around five studies would have been produced due to the expense in creating the work.

Chiparus (1886-1947) was a Romanian sculptor and artist who lived and worked in Paris. French theatre, Russian ballet dancers and stars of early motion pictures were often the subject of his works.

Deco emerged in the interwar period when new technology was transforming culture. It is defined by modern geometric shapes and lavish decoration and influenced with futurism and cubism. The war had broken down rigid cultural barriers and propelled society into an exciting new age. A dizzy celebration of peacetime ensued.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

  1. Mark Oliver
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3856
    FaxFax: +44 20 7493 0759

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