Isadora and Two Bears
Maurice Guiraud-Rivière (1881-1947)
20th century, Bronze and ivory
This chryselephantine statuette depicts the famous Isadora Duncan flanked by two bears. The American dancer is considered one of the founders of modern dance, having developed a personal style based on complete freedom of bodily expression. In 1900, she travelled to Paris, where she danced in privately organized soirées to classical music. Barefoot, dressed in a simple Greek-style tunic, she performed movements that she had learned by observing Hellenic bas-reliefs. With this new, ‘free’ type of movement, Isadora wanted to liberate modern dance from the strictly regimented academic rules of classical ballet. The myth surrounding her, which inspired the creator of these elegant figurines, continued to grow, even after her tragic death: she died suddenly, by strangulation, when her scarf got caught between the wheels of her car while driving. Maurice Guiraud Rivière, who portrays her here, was a creative and highly refined sculptor, who sculpted nudes, oriental dancers, allegorical figures, sportive subjects, and figurines with animals, mainly in bronze, in combination with ivory, but also using marble and ceramics.