Armand Godard (French) Art Deco bubble dance, c. 1925 the…
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Armand Godard (French) Art Deco bubble dance, c. 1925 the gilded bronze and carved ivory female dancer with her arms outstretched and supporting an opalescent glass ball, on onyx plinth, signed 'Godard, Etling Paris', height 39 cm.

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  • Ivory - Ivory is a hard white material that comes from the tusks of elephants, mammoth, walrus and boar, or from the teeth of hippopotamus and whales. The ivory from the African elephant is the most prized source of ivory. Although the mammoth is extinct, tusks are still being unearthed in Russia and offered for sale.

    Ivory has been used since the earliest times as a material for sculpture of small items, both in Europe and the east, principally China and Japan.

    In Asia ivory has been carved for netsuke, seals, okimono, card cases, fan supports, animals and other figures and even as carved tusks.

    In the last 200 years in Europe ivory has been used to carve figures, for elaborate tankards, snuff boxes, cane handles, embroidery and sewing accessories, in jewellery and as inlay on furniture. Its more practical uses include being used for billiard balls, buttons, and a veneers on the top of piano keys.

    The use and trade of elephant ivory have become controversial because they have contributed to Due to the decline in elephant populations because of the trade in ivory, the Asian elephant was placed on Appendix One of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in 1975, and in January 1990, the African elephant was similarly listed. Under Appendix One, international trade in Asian or African elephant ivory between member countries is forbidden. Unlike trade in elephant tusks, trade in mammoth tusks is legal.

    Since the invention of plastics, there have been many attempts to create an artificial ivory
  • Onyx - Onyx is a form of agate, used from antiquity and popular again in the 1920s and 30s. European onyx is generally green, but can be many other colours, and can contain bands of black and/or white.

    This multicoloured stone is widely used for table tops, lamp bases and in jewellery. Some types of onyx are also used for cameos of which the upper white layer is cut away to reveal the colour beneath.
  • Bronze - An alloy of copper and tin, traditionally in the proportions of about 9 parts of copper to 1 part of tin.

    The discovery of bronze in Western Asia in the 4th century enabled people to create metal objects which were superior to those previoulsy possible because of its strength and hardness, and it has been used throughout the world for weapons, coins, tools, statuary and other decorative items.

    It is very fluid in a molten state, and its hardness, strength when set, and non-corrosive properties makes it most suitable for casting sculpture.
  • Gilding - Gilding is a method of ornamentation whereby a thin sheet of gold metal is applied to items made of wood, leather, ceramics, glass and silver for decorative purposes.

    For furniture including mirrors, the sheet of gold is usually applied over a coating of gesso. Gesso is a mixture of plaster of Paris and gypsum mixed with water and then applied to the carved wooden frames of mirrors and picture frames as a base for applying the gold leaf. After numerous coats of gesso have been applied, allowed to dry and then sanded a coat of "bole", a usually red coloured mixture of clay and glue is brushed on and allowed to dry, after which the gold leaf is applied. Over time parts of the gilding will rub off so the base colour can be seen. In water gilding, this was generally a blue colour, while in oil gilding, the under layer was often yellow. In Victorian times, gilders frequently used red as a pigment beneath the gold leaf.

    Metal was often gilded by a process known as fire gilding. Gold mixed with mercury was applied and heated, causing the mercury to evaporate, the long-term effect of which was to kill or disable the craftsman or woman from mercury poisoning. The pursuit of beauty has claimed many victims, not the least of which were the artists who made those pieces so highly sought after today.
  • Art Deco Period - The Art Deco period was a cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, and was characterized by its emphasis on modernism, luxury, and elegance. The name "Art Deco" comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts D√©coratifs et Industriels Modernes, a large exhibition held in Paris in 1925 that showcased the latest trends in decorative arts.

    Art Deco was a reaction against the ornate and elaborate styles of the previous era, and reflected a new modern sensibility. It was characterized by streamlined, geometric shapes, bright colours, and the use of new materials such as chrome, glass, and Bakelite. Art Deco designers sought to create a sense of luxury and sophistication, often incorporating expensive materials such as ivory, marble, and rare woods.

    Art Deco had a significant impact on a wide range of artistic fields, including architecture, fashion, graphic design, and interior design. Some of the most iconic examples of Art Deco architecture include the Empire State Building in New York City, the Hoover Building in London, and the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

    The Art Deco period came to an end in the 1940s, as World War II and changing cultural trends led to a shift in artistic styles. However, Art Deco remains an important influence on design and art, and continues to be celebrated for its modernist sensibility and glamorous aesthetic.

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