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Art Deco Bronze by Denis "Danseuse aux Boules"

Posted Saturday, October 08 by CAG

Judy writes, " I bought this Art Deco bronze lady about 15 years ago. I paid between $200 and $300. It is just over 10 inches tall and is signed Denis. Can you tell me anymore about it? What might it be worth today?"
deco bronze.jpg
I have found your bronze attributed to both Maurice and Marcel Denis, with dates from 1925 to 1937. The title is "Danseuse aux Boules". It was originally cast in bronze, but I have also seen two for sale made from spelter, which is a soft white metal which can be used to make less expensive copies of bronzes. The spelter then has a patina or finish applied that can be made to look bronze. Although one of the spelter pieces I found was new, older spelter copies may also have been made. Here is a link to Habitat Unique which has an original bronze listed as SOLD for $2,469. Here is a link to a site,Art Deco Prints and Posters that is selling new (2002) recasts in spelter for $399 (bronze recasts can be special ordered). I also found a bronze version that recently sold at auction for just over $700.

Spelter was originally developed in the 19th Century as a way of making less expensive statues for the growing middle class. So do NOT assume that because something is made of spelter (also called white or pot metal) that it is not old. Also some old spelter figures still may have significant value.

If you are not sure if yours is bronze or spelter, the weight is a dead giveaway. Bronze is very heavy and spelter is very light in comparison. If an item feels heavier than you expected for its size it is likely bronze. Unfortunately a magnet will not stick to bronze or spelter since neither is made with iron.

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