Postcard Image

Postcard Image
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.

These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.

Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Cryselephantine Coquette

Chryselephantine in ancient times meant a statue of wood, with a thin veneer of ivory representing skin and gold leaf picking out other details, such as clothing. The term is also used to describe statuettes produced during the art nouveau and art deco periods with parts of finely carved ivory inset into bronze or other materials.  This voluptuous bathing beauty is by Peter Tereszczuk, renown for his cryselephantine creations.  Born in the Ukraine in 1875, Tereszczuk studied sculpting in Vienna, Austria.  Most of his statuettes, representing everything from the innocence of childhood to erotica, were produced in Vienna from the 1890s through the 1920s.  This 6.5 inch tall belle of ivory and bronze  (including her marble base) is garbed in a bathing suit from the early 1900s, but her bust and arms are of ivory.  From the front, she presents the viewer with a bit more leg than would be proper at the seaside as she nonchalantly adjusts one of her garters.  


However, a view of the back reveals that this little seaside siren needs to adjust more than her garter, as a naughty zephyr has blown up the skirt of her bathing outfit, exposing her bare bottom of subtly sculpted ivory.  


A close up of her serene exquisite face and slender graceful arms displays the superb carving of the ivory.  


The left side of the bronze base is  marked  with the intertwined "T" and "U" of the Tereszczuk-Ullmann foundry and "P. Tereszczuk."


The back of the base is incised "Made in Austria."




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