Among the various Cybis porcelain ‘genres’ (generalized categories) there is a small group called the Classical Impressions. All except two were limited editions, and most were introduced during the 1980s.
Leda and the Swan is 9” high and 13” wide on its base and was a declared limited edition of 500 white bisque sculptures at $1450 in 1986. It is one of the first three pieces in that “collection.” By 1988 Cybis had altered the editions to 500 in white bisque for $1750, plus a new edition of 200 color versions for $2250. Both editions were closed (probably not completed) between spring 1996 and spring 1999. I have never seen a photo of the “color” Leda but would very much like to; perhaps only a very few were made.
Icarus is a much larger sculpture: 19” high overall, 15” deep and 18” wide. Also a declared limited edition of 500, it’s possible that the edition size was reduced before closing. His original 1986 issue price was $1800 but by 1988 it had risen to $1950. Between 1989 and 1992 an additional color edition was added to this as well. Their 1993 price list shows a single edition of 500, divided in an unknown way between white sculptures at $2600 and color ones for $3500. Both versions were closed between Fall 1996 and Spring 1999. (I would love to see a color version of this too, if any were actually made.) An interesting side note about this sculpture is that it was designed by a young man who had previously worked for Industrial Light & Magic’s model shop creating some of the models used in the original 1970s Star Wars movies!
There were three martial-arts sculptures within this Classical Impressions series.
The name of this piece is Tang Dynasty ‘The Student’. It appears in the initial 1986 Classical Impressions brochure. It is 9.5” high and came with a separate black lucite base which was a first for a Cybis piece. Intially priced at $950, the declared issue was 750 white bisque sculptures; the brochure cited it as “first in a series of three.” A 1988 Cybis price list shows the name simply as Tang Dynasty – Figure I …..and, just like Leda, in two color options and different edition sizes: white bisque as an edition of 500 for $995 and also a “color” version in a smaller 200-piece edition for $1395.
The February 1989 price list also shows T’ang Dynasty – Figure II which was introduced in 1987. It is 13″ high and 10″ wide as a result of the fighter’s stance. This piece too came with a black lucite base. This was shown as available in either white bisque (edition 500, at $995) and color (edition 200, at $1395), so clearly the studio had rather quickly made a marketing decision shift re: edition sizes, colorways and pricing after the intial series launch.
Tang Dynasty – Figure III was the final piece in the series, probably issued in either 1990 or 1991. Edition sizes are not known, nor are its dimensions, because unfortunately I do not have price lists from those two years. The above photo is the only one I have ever seen that shows the color version of any of the Tang Dynasty figures. None of these appear on Cybis’ autumn 1993 price list which indicates that production of all three was probably discontinued in 1992 or early 1993.
If anyone has a photo of the color version of Leda, Icarus, or the first two Tang figures please let me know (contact form on the About the Archive page) because I’d love to add it here.
Also shown in the Mythology post, Dream of Venus was also placed into the Classical Impressions category. Introduced in 1988 in the same color/edition size format as the T’ang figures, the 500-edition white bisque was $950 and the 200-edition color was $1475. In 1990 the studio combined both colorways into a single edition of 500. By 1993 the colorway prices were $1275 and $1975, which the studio raised significantly to $2975 and $3500 in early 1990s. It is unlikely that many were sold at those pricepoints.
The Acrobat appeared in the very early 1990s and is one of only two non-limited Classical Impressions designs. It was offered as a single acrobat at $675 and also separately as The Acrobats (pair as bookends) for $1150 – in other words a savings of $200 for the pair. This is the only “pair discount” that the studio retained after the mid-1990s. The Acrobat is 9.25” high and 8” wide at the base which appears to be black wood. I have no idea why these are signed on the wood base (see second photo) rather than on the sculpture itself; I have never seen the signature on a wood base before. Perhaps the figures are glued to the base and the assumption was made that they would/could not be separated from it? (Note: The piece is pure white bisque; the pair shown in the first two photos appear to be quite dirty.)
A short-lived piece that appeared on the Fall 1993 price list under the Classical Impressions heading was Yoga, Girl in Motion for $575. It was flagged as a “new since last price list” item, the same as was The Acrobat, and was the only open (non-limited) Classical Impressions item. Being a text-only price list there is no photo, but the size is cited as 9.25″ high x 6.5″ wide. That makes it the same height as The Acrobat although a little less wide; The Acrobat is supposedly 8″ wide but as usual Cybis did not specify whether their cited height is only for the porcelain or includes an attached base as well. The yoga item does not mention a base. Obviously this is a female in a yoga pose but that’s all we can surmise about it until/unless one shows up for sale on eBay. By the time the Fall 1995 price list was issued, the “yoga girl” had been retired, never to be seen again.
This most intriguing sculpture was definitely photographed in either 1975 or 1976 at the Cybis studio but the piece was never released. The style and subject — which appears to be a seated goddess with her twin children — are so similar to Leda and the Swan that it must have been intended to eventually be part of either a classical or mythology series. Based on her headdress and the wheat(?) stalk in her bodice, the goddess may be Demeter who did have twin sons but her much better known offspring was Persephone. Although the Classical Impressions were not launched until the 1980s it was not uncommon for sculptures that were designed during one decade to be held until later.
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