Chiparus Dolly Sisters sculpture beats estimate by 38%

A Demetre Chiparus sculpture of the iconic Dolly Sisters has sold as the top lot in Bonhams' Chiparus, Lalique and Decorative Arts auction, which was held on November 14 in London.

The piece, which is one of only four ever created in the large size of 74cm, realised £277,250 ($439,466), achieving a 38.6% increase on its £200,000 high estimate.

The Dolly Sisters sculpture Demetre Chiparus
The sisters were once presented with a brand new Rolls Royce by an admirer

As its title suggests, the auction was in part dedicated to the work of Demetre Chiparus, who is widely regarded as a master of art deco. Chiparus is known for his chryselephantine figures - a term which refers to a sculpture that mixes carved ivory with bronze, wood, crystal or lapis lazuli.

The piece at auction was crafted from ivory and bronze and depicts the legendary 1920s performing twins, the Dolly Sisters. The Hungarian-born pair rose to fame in the roaring twenties with their alluring performances on the vaudeville stages of Broadway.

The twins attracted numerous wealthy admirers during the prosperous age including Gordon Selfridge, founder of the popular department store, and Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales, who both reportedly shared a particular affection for Jenny.

Bonhams' Mark Oliver commented: "The Dolly Sisters were such iconic figures during the 1920s and their fame continues to live on today.

"The Chiparus statue was executed when the twins were at their peak and is a wonderful evocation of that time and of two of its brightest stars. It was a great pleasure to see such high levels of interest in the sculpture with a fantastic price achieved for the piece."

For another great piece of memorabilia from the period, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' signed photograph of George Gershwin - composer of many of the jazz age's greatest standards and Broadway musicals.


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