Chiparus' Dolly Sisters sculpture heads for '$323,000' auction

A stunning sculpture of the 1920s dancing duo the Dolly Sisters is to see the pair propelled into the limelight once again in Bonhams' November 14 auction.

The Dolly Sisters sculpture Demetre Chiparus
The Dolly Sisters rose to meteoric fame in 1920s New York

The auction is in part dedicated to the work of Demetre Chiparus, the sculptor behind the piece, who is widely regarded as a master of art deco. The artist produced chryselephantine figures - a term which refers to a sculpture which mixes carved ivory with bronze, wood, crystal or lapis lazuli.

The sculpture at auction is one such piece, having been carved from a mix of ivory and bronze. It depicts the famed Dolly Sisters, a pair of identical twins who rose to fame on the vaudeville stages of New York in the 1920s.

The Hungarian-born pair mesmerised men across the state with their seductive dancing and had many great admirers, including Gordon Selfridge. Selfridge, who founded the famed Oxford Street department store, fell in love with one of the sisters - Jenny - at age 69 and spent much of his fortune on failed attempts to woo her.

Selfridge proposed to the dancer on a weekly basis, and even paid off the sisters' debts after they developed a huge gambling problem. Along with money, jewels and cars, he also bought Jenny a chateau in France.

Sadly, at the end of their dancing career, both sisters became increasingly unhappy and Jenny committed suicide in 1941. Rosie attempted to follow her sister in 1962, but failed and was eventually killed by heart failure in 1970.

The spectacular sculpture, which is regarded as the rarest and most desirable of Chiparus' works, is expected to bring £150,000-200,000 ($242,000-323,000).

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