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Claire Collinet

Claire Jeanne Roberte Colinet (1885 – 1948) was French sculptor of Belgian birth who worked during the early-to-mid 20th century The subject matter of her best known work was primarily Arab female dancers The majority of her career output in sculpture can be classified as being of the Art Deco style

Colinet was a frequent exhibitor at the Salon des Artistes Francais and Salon des Independents art exhibitions in Paris Her sculptures, most of which depicted beautifully figured, energized, and dramatic female forms, were exhibited posthumously at the Paris Salon for nearly 30 years

Colinet was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1880 Little is known about her life other than the artwork she produced during a successful career that spanned more than 40 years As a woman, she was in the minority in her chosen field of sculpture during the era in which she worked and lived

At an undetermined date – probably around 1910 – Colinet emigrated to Paris, France, where she studied sculpture under the watchful eye of Jef Lambeaux and exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1913 and became a permanent member of the organization in 1929 From 1937 to 1940, she exhibited at the Salon des Independents in Paris and joined the Union of Women Painters and Sculptors Colinet’s work is primarily done in the Art Deco style, and her models included odalisques, exotic dancers, jugglers and artists of cabaret

The discovery of Tutankamon’s tomb in 1922 by the British Howard Carter was a significant event whose influence was reflected in all imaginable decorative objects surrounding the 20s society. Furniture, jewelry and even costume design were covered with Egyptian forced aesthetics.

Although there is no doubt this important discovery revitalized aesthetics, a former interest had already become clear in theater performances, as Sarah Bernhardt’s Cleopatra, or the film of the same title that the then muse Theda Bara performed with outstanding success in 1917.

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A number of her female dancer pieces were influenced by a revival of the Orientalism movement which had been popular in Europe from about 1860 to 1880 Her preferred casting material was bronze; however, a number of her most distinguished sculptures are chryselephantine, being a combination of both bronze and ivory

Shows full of exoticism were performed in cabarets and vaudevilles, like dances with fire, knives or snakes, a novelty that was very well received by the audience.

Claire Colinet uses this influence to show an exotic dancer covered with conventions, like snakes coiled on her wrists, that remind us of the bracelet Georges Fouquet and Alphons Mucha designed for “Divine Sarah” in 1899, to take us to an idealized world of luxury, splendor and sensuality.

Colinet’s sculpture has become highly desirable to collectors and, increasingly, is selling for exorbitant sums At a Christie’s sale on 4 May 2007, her Ankara Dancer statue from circa 1930 sold for a hammer price of $285,984

Colinet died in Asnières-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, France, in 1950

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