Art Deco Style Figure on Marble Base
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Art Deco style bronze figure on a marble base featuring the letters H CHAPU. We are not suggesting is has been produced by the master sculptor, merely pointing out it is there. Measures 33cm high x base width 23cm.
Affectionately known by her former owner as Mata Hari – the enduring archetype of the femme fatale.
Margaretha Geertrudia (nee Zelle) MacLeod 1876-1917. Her stage name was Mata Hari. She was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan,who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during WWI. Many people still believe she was innocent because the French Army needed a scapegoat. She was executed by firing squad in France.
Netherlands remained neutral during WWI, so Zelle was able to cross borders freely. She was involved in an intense romantic relationship with Captain Vadim Maslov a Russian pilot serving with the French whom she called the love of her life. He was part of the 50,000 strong Russian Expeditionary Force sent to the Western Front in spring 1916. In summer 1916, he was shot down and badly wounded in a dogfight with the Germans, losing his sight in his left eye, which led Zelle to ask for permission to visit her wounded lover at the hospital where he was staying near the front. She was told that if permitted to see Maslov in exchange she must agree to spy for France.
Before the war she had performed as an exotic dancer before the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II. It was hoped if she could seduce the Crown prince once more, she would acquire military secrets. She was offered one million Francs to play her part. In November 1916 she was travelling from Spain by steamer, when the ship called at the British port of Falmouth. She was arrested, taken to London, interrogated at Scotland Yard, then released, where she stayed at the Savoy Hotel. She then continued to traverse Europe.
In January 1917 a German spy named H-21 was described in such detail it could only be Mata Hari. The French arrested her, terminated her employment by exposing her as a German spy to the French. She was arrested on 13th February, 1917 at the Hotel Elysee Palace on Champs Elysees, Paris, put on trial and executed on 15th October, 1917. After refusing to be bound and wear a blindfold, she defiantly blew a kiss to the firing squad. Her body unclaimed, was used for medical study. Her file was declassified in 2017, 100 years after her execution, leading to many believing her, “A harlot? Yes, but a traitoress, never!”