The Art Deco Movement frequently "lifted" historical aesthetic themes from the past. Sometimes from the distant past. Egyptian motifs were well-employed by Art Deco architects, decorators and designers. So were Greco-Roman elements. This reviving of the Classical Past lent an air of timelessness to the design—and a recognition of the Western World's intellectual, social and political roots.
The polychromed bookends, shown above, are a sculpted bas relief representation of "The Graphic Arts." Scribes bend-over their drawings, draped in hand-painted robes, sitting beside a hand-painted forest. Sculptural elements, such as this, were often employed in Art Deco architecture and interior decoration. A walk through and around Rockefeller Center in New York, for example, will provide numerous examples of applied sculpted (or painted or mosaic) decoration meant to reference the virtues or the industry of mankind.
The Pompeian Bronze Company, which made these handsome bookends, was located in New York City. A sculpted original was used to create molds. Plaster castings were then electroplated with bronze in vast tanks. After the electroplating, the pieces could be patinated or painted like any other bronze object. Bronze-clad items were considered a "poor man's bronze" for they were less costly than the solid bronze sculpture. Nevertheless, the quality of the modeling was consistently excellent—in part due to the access these companies (mostly operated by Italians) had to Italian master sculptors and craftsmen. 100 years on, bronze-clad objects have become highly-collectable themselves.
Please click on the photo above to learn more about these handsome Art Deco bookends.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248