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Charleston Dancer

CHARLESTON DANCER – FERDINAND PREISS 

Circa 1930s 

One of the most prominent sculptors of the art deco period was Ferdinand Preiss, born February 13, 1882 in Erbach im Odenwald, as one of six children. He had aspirations of being an engineer; however, his parents passed away when he was 15, and he was apprenticed to ivory carver Philipp Willman. In 1901, he travelled to Rome and Paris where he became friends with Arthur Kassler, and they founded Preiss-Kassler in Berlin. 

The firm began carving billiard balls into forms of children and classical motifs. Following 1910, they began producing sculpture in the soon-to-come form of art deco with painted bronze and ivory or onyx and marble. They also had a small production studio in England. 

This piece depicts a Charleston dancer, and is created in ivory and tin, circa 1930.