Endymion was set up in Scotland in 2004 by proprietors, Ian and Janice, to purchase original unrestored Art Deco sculptures of innate beauty and bring these to the public via the internet, fairs and other channels. Both Ian and Janice come from professional backgrounds: Ian as a research scientist, engineer and senior manager and Janice as a schoolteacher. The business is underpinned by sixteen years of experience collecting a wide variety of beautiful antiques, including bronze and ivory (chryselephantine) figures. It takes its name from the eponymous poem by John Keats whose opening line is “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Although some of the earlier subjects are mythological, or classical, in origin, most of the exquisite works of art we offer reflect the bright new world of the 1920s and 1930s. They were influenced by the fashions of the period, which reflected the emancipation of women that followed WW1. Other influences can be discerned including athleticism, the movies, Jazz and dances such as the Charleston. The costumes and dancing of Isadora Duncan, Ada May and similar revue artistes, and of Nijinsky, Ida Rubinstein and others in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, were further significant influences.
The contemporary fascination with all things Egyptian, following the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, was another important influence, as was the fascination with speed, which is reflected in the elegant dynamic poses of many of the figures. The use of cold painting and chryselephantine techniques and of beautiful and elaborate marble and onyx bases also distinguishes them and gives them a vitality, vibrancy and variety all of their own.
Principally, they were made in Paris, Berlin, or Vienna and cast by the leading foundries – many of which also had their own expert carvers. The metal was hot cast, using the lost wax method, and the ivory, then in plentiful supply, was individually carved for each example. Their creators included the most eminent sculptors of the period, with Ferdinand Preiss, Demetre Chiparus, Claire-Jeanne-Roberte Colinet, Bruno Zach, Otto Poertzel and Josef Lorenzl being amongst the most highly revered.
Other top rank artists include Paul Philippe, Marcel Bouraine, Joé Descomps, Dominique Alonzo and Louis Sosson. Usually only a few examples of each figure were made, sometimes in more than one size, and signed by the artist.
Such individually crafted works of art were never plentiful, or inexpensive, and many have been lost over time - some melted for munitions in WW2. In those surviving, condition is very important. Handling over 80, or so, years may have worn their patina, or cold painting. They may have developed hairline cracks, or have been chipped, or broken. Few, if any, perfect examples still exist and those that are near-perfect command a considerable premium – particularly if they are unrestored and by one of the revered artists mentioned above.
Endymion strives to search out the best quality items, in top condition and by the best makers and artists, and offer these to collectors. Such beautiful works of art do not come cheaply, however, but for those who can afford them, we offer some of the world’s finest examples. For a two page introductory article click here.
Please do not hesitate to use our contact details to find out more about any of our stock, including our asking price, or details of packing/shipping/insurance. We would also be happy to meet prospective customers, by arrangement, in the UK.
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Endymion - Telephone 01382 801801