Mask Dancer, c. 1925
Joe Descomps (1869-1950)
Ivory, bronze, marble and onyx base
Joseph Jules Emmanuel Descomps, born January 18, 1869 in Clermont-Ferrand, France, was an accomplished goldsmith and sculptor. He joined the Societe des Artistes Francais in 1883, and exhibited his works at their Salons from 1891 to 1937. He had success at the Salon with an honorable mention in 1898, third prize in 1900 and 1921, the second prize in 1925 and was the first prize winner in 1928. Following WWI, he began signing his pieces Cormier and on April 3, 1929, he was appointed to the Honorary Legion. He passed away in Paris on April 24, 1950.
Mask Dancer was created using the Chryselephantin, or gilt-bronze style, which uses the combination of metallic and non-metallic materials and features a woman holding a drama mask. This style of mixing mediums was popular during the art deco period, and sculptures could include paint, enamel and stones. The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold.