'ELEPHANT & CALF' antique Bookends J.B. HIRSCH CO. NY. USA

'ELEPHANT & CALF' antique Bookends J.B. HIRSCH CO. NY. USA
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  • Item #: 2706
  • Manufacturer: JB Hirsch

Extremely rare pair of beautifully detailed antique bookends featuring a large elephant and a baby elephant. This set was made by the Joseph B. Hirsch Company, NY, NY.  Circa 1930.  The large elephant is standing with it's trunk curled up touching the top of it's head.  This elephant has very large, intact tusks made out of ivorine.  The little baby elephant is standing beside the adult with it's trunk facing upwards and curled at the tip.  Spectacular.  The elephants are made of metal with a deep brass finish.  The base is an amber/caramel/ivory mixed tone natural alabaster marble with a backplate. Each bookend stands 4" tall, 6 5/8" long, 4" wide and weighs 4 lbs. (8 lbs. for the pair).  They are in very good original condition.  The elephants are complete with no missing, or, broken parts, no repairs, or, touch-ups, the alabaster has some bruises but no repairs or touch-ups.

Joseph B. Hirsch was a Romanian immigrant living in New York when in 1907 he began his business named New York Art Bronze Works.  His techniques and designs mimicked the original french bronze sculptures of the early 20th century.  At the time the successful artists of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris were using a combination of bronze and ivory to create forms with the ivory primarily representing flesh.  The effect was striking and very popular.  Hirsch reproduced this same effect using a product which became known in America as ‘ivorine’ (early celluloid) since true ivory was scarce and soon to be outlawed making his creations into a variety of products including lamps, bookends, dresser trays, and other metal arts products. 

 The late 1920’s and into the 1930’s were the most prolific years for the original J. B. Hirsch bookends. They were distinctive and readily recognized today.  The combination of french bronze, marble, and, ivorine was not used in America and could be confused with European bookends.  Most of the marble and stone bases used in the bookends were imported from areas such as France and Italy.  To find original J. B. Hirsch bookends in good condition is arguably one of the most sought after by antique bookend collectors as their show pieces, or, the sole manufacturer they collect.  These early originals are the bookends we focus on obtaining for our customers.

 After WWII Hirsch along with his son Abraham purchased the rights to dig up and ship back to America a vast array of original bronze molds which had been hidden during the Nazi occupation by the great sculptors of that age.  These molds were separated and hidden, they were crated, brought to American, re-assembled and made into a variety of lamps, statues, and other decorative metal arts.  The company continues to be operated to this day although it has been sold out of the family. 

 

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