Thursday, 5 May 2016

The ladies dance on and on...

Alberto Shayo makes an interesting point in the book's preface, there is no comprehensive catalogue of these statuettes because they were considered decorative pieces rather than art and though he doesn't mention it the fact that they were made in sizeable editions suggests commercialism rather than creativity. However, with the passing of the decades there is a growing interest in these delightful figures and the book will be useful to collectors as an excellent overview of the leading artists.

Twenty-four pages in the front of the book has an illustrated essay: The allure of Art Deco. This gives a brief description of the artistic influences that inspired craftsmen, mainly French, from 1914 to 1939 to make the female dancer into a distinctive style. The Plates section (211 pages) alphabetically lists the artists with a short biography and a selection of their work, oddly these pages don't necessarily reflect their importance. Chiparus only gets two photos despite being the leading artist in this field though he has twenty-four in the sepia printed catalogue section of the book (and the author has written the definitive book about Chiparus, recently published by the ACC) Preiss only gets two but Le Faguays gets eleven, Charol fourteen and Goddard twelve. I found the Plates section rather impressive because of the excellent colour photos of the statues. The book's back pages, apart from an in-depth Index has fifty-three pages reproducing Les Neveux de Jules Lehmann (LNJL) twenties and thirties catalogue pages. This Paris foundry and dealer made and displayed the leading artists until 1939.

Alberto Shayo has edited a fascinating book about one aspect of Art Deco style.

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