La Comète is a magnificent Art Deco sculptural image of a female nude modelled as a streamlined comet, her long hair trailing behind her as she flies through the clouds. The silvered bronze sculpture is heightened with parcel gilding and raised on a breche griotte shaped marble base, signed Guirard-Riviere and inscribed with the foundry mark Etling Paris. 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.
See example with a green/brown patina which was sold at Sothebys, New York in 2014 for $ 60,000 USD
What is a Comet?
A comet is a very small solar system body made mostly of ices mixed with smaller amounts of dust and rock. Most comets are no larger than a few kilometres across. The main body of the comet is called the nucleus, and it can contain water, methane, nitrogen and other ices.
When a comet is heated by the Sun, its ices begin to sublimate (similar to the way dry ice “fizzes” when you leave it in sunlight). The mixture of ice crystals and dust blows away from the comet nucleus in the solar wind, creating a pair of tails. The dust tail is what we normally see when we view comets from Earth.
A plasma tail also forms when molecules of gas are “excited” by interaction with the solar wind. The plasma tail is not normally seen with the naked eye, but can be imaged. Comets normally orbit the Sun, and have their origins in the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt regions of the outer solar system.
Maurice Guiraud-Rivière was born in Toulouse in 1881 and was a painter, draftsman, sculptor, the nephew of Theodore River and student of the National School of Fine Arts where he studied under the direction of Antonin Mercie master of his uncle and like them native of Toulouse. Read all about him and view our full collection here.
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