Relevant categories: Art Deco,Bronzes
(Above photo - Bronze Art Deco Biba Figurine Statue Clarte Table Lamp )
A Clarté bronze is a form of lamp featuring the naked female figure. It comes from the art deco bronze as first cast by the French artist Max Leverrier and is perhaps the most iconic bronze of the 1920s. Sometimes it is also referenced as the Biba bronze. The figurine stands upright, holding out its hands, on which stands a lamp. It isn’t any different from other bronze statues, especially regarding the materials used to make it. Apart from its distinctive shape, it should have all the other features expected from a bronze figurine. The following are some of the characteristics you can use to identify it:
(Above photo - Lifesize Biba bronze statue in silver after Max Leverrier )
You can tell a genuine Clarté bronze from a fake one by how it sounds when you hit it with an object. Therefore, you can take a wooden dowel and use it to strike the bronze statue. If you hear a ringing sound over several seconds, the bronze is most likely genuine. On the other hand, bonded bronze or fake bronze produces a dull, heavy sound. Instead of a copper/tin alloy, it is made from bronze powder mixed into the resin. In genuine bronze, the tin molecules perfectly interact with copper molecules, creating a wall that allows sound reverberation.
(Above photo - Art Deco Bronze Dancer Engime Girl Lamp Figurine Obelisk Clarte )
The colour of bronze tends to change based on the amount of copper and tin that has been mixed. While this large variety of colour can be confusing, knowing how it looks can help you know when you have a genuine Clarté bronze. If the copper content is high, then the bronze will have a larger shade. However, if the tin is more, then it will produce a lighter colour. On top of a bronze statue, there is a patina protecting it from oxidation and rusting. If the bronze remains shiny, then it is most likely fake. You can scratch a bit of the patina to check how the bronze looks underneath. A genuine piece should have a reddish, shiny look.
Like all other metals, genuine bronze is heavy. You may try lifting the Clarté bronze to know just how heavy it is. If it is genuine, you will feel its weight pressing down onto your hand. On the other hand, bronze powder and resin are light.
Bronze is one of the most malleable metals, which is why it is used to make sculptures. From a small liquid amount, it can expand into a bigger, massive solid. Once it dries, you can easily chisel it without cracking or breaking it. Therefore, a genuine bronze statue cannot crack or break. It is also hard, and pushing against it doesn’t cause a dent. While you might not have to chisel through a Clarte bronze, this test will mark out one that isn’t quite genuine. If it breaks or feels soft, then the bronze is made from resin.
(Above photo - Classic Biba pedestal figurine )
You can easily purchase a genuine Clarté bronze by looking at its sound, weight, malleability, and colour. If you have no idea how to distinguish between a genuine and fake Clarte bronze, you should ask an expert evaluator to do it for you. Most antique shops employ individuals whose work is to help customers identify the genuineness of a statue.
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