KNOW YOUR ARTISTS: MAURICE GUIRAUD-RIVIÈRE
Born in Toulouse in 1881, Maurice Guiraud-Rivière was an eminent French sculptor and designer of the Art Deco period whose work survives primarily in bronze. The Nephew of the sculptor Théodore Rivière, he was a pupil of the National School of Fine Arts where he studied under the direction of Antonin Mercié, who was his uncle's own master. He was trained in modern design techniques and methods by Antonin which propelled him into his career as a leading artist of the Art Deco movement.
Upon completing his studies, he rapidly gained recognition in France as a leading visionary of the Art Deco period. He used an extensive range of media, typically working as a painter, draftsman, and sculptor. He exhibited at the Salon of French Artists from as early as 1907, at the Salon des Beaux Arts in 1911 and also at the Salon comedians. Furthermore he was awarded an Honourable Mention in 1914. Many of his works statuettes were made up of bronze or the mixture of both bronze and ivory. In 1937 he exhibited a new series of sculptures and medallions at the International Exhibition in Paris to much acclaim.
La Comète (see right) is a magnificent example of Guiraud-Rivière Art Deco style at its pinnacle. The sculpture depicts a female nude modelled as a streamlined comet, her long hair trailing behind her as she flies through the clouds. The sculpture’s composition displays a great sense of dynamism and movement. This iconic design was considered the height of modernity and an example of the model was placed in the reception of the famous Chrysler Building, New York from 1930 to 1942.The majority of his works were published by the Parisian bronze foundry Etling who cast his works for over 30 years. Founded in 1909 Etling was very involved with the other leading sculptors of the Art Deco period and represented many sculptors of the time, including Chiparus. Mostly his works were focused on women, sports, aviation or automotive, all subjects that typified the Art Deco period known for its passion for speed dynamism and the excitement the new machine era brought with it.
Guiraud-Rivière is also known for his car mascots, an area in which he invested a lot of time and energy. He is one of the sculptors who created some of the most beautiful mascots known during the heyday of this production (1919 to 1930). His mascots, always very well made, are highly sought after by collectors.