New Public Art Sculpture Hippo Ballerina to be installed at 64th street and Broadway

Cavalier Galleries
Jan 9, 2017 4:03PM

In Partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks Program February 7 – July 31, 2017 

NEW YORK — Standing over 15 feet tall, weighing over 2 and a half tons, cast in bronze, and clad in a copper tutu, Hippo Ballerina, 2016, by Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, will be making her Broadway debut from February 7 – July 31, 2017, at Dante Park at the intersection of 64th Street and Broadway. Following in the mighty footsteps of impressive animal sculptures including the raging bull, crouching cougar, and lounging lions that lord over the city’s most treasured landmarks, NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program has given Hippo Ballerina a pride of place right across from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 

Bjorn Skaarup
Hippopotamus Ballerina, on point, AP 1/3, 2014
Cavalier Galleries

Inspired by Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (Petite danseuse de quatorze ans) and the dancing hippos of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Hippo Ballerina vividly illustrates the artist’s ability to reinterpret subjects and themes found in ancient myths, art history, modern animation, and contemporary popular culture in playful ways that engage the viewer. 

“I think a fun way to revitalize themes from art history that have been forgotten lately is through animal allegories, because we are so used to that through animation and fables,” said Skaarup.

Visitors wishing to share the spotlight with Hippo Ballerina are invited to post photos striking their favorite dance poses in front of Skaarup’s sculpture on their Instagram pages. Instagrammers marking their photos with the hashtag #Dancewithhippoballerina will have the chance to win two tickets to a ballet performance at Lincoln Center. Cavalier Galleries’ Instagram contest will run February 7 – March 31, 2017. Details will be provided beginning in January 2017 on Facebook: Dancewithhippoballerina and on Instagram: @Dancewithhippoballerina. 

Bjorn Skaarup
Rhino Harlequin, 2013
Cavalier Galleries

Adding to the merriment, Bronze Creatures Great and Small, the companion exhibition to Skaarup’s first New York City public sculpture installation, will be on view at Cavalier Gallery at 3 West 57th Street from February 7 to March 17, 2017. Featuring over 12 animal bronzes, ranging in scale from small to colossal, each member of this menagerie (select editions are also on permanent view in lavish locales including St. Barth’s) has a telling tale to tell. Leading the pack will be The Majestic Lion, 2008. Mounted mischievously atop a wobbly rocking horse rather than an imposing steed, he sports the commanding pose, bejeweled crown, and the imposing armor of a magnificent monarch. 

In the grand tradition of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, many of Skaarup’s bronzes are also patinated in bright hues to appear more lifelike. Vibrantly adorned in bright jewel tones, Dancing Bear, 2013, dressed as the Ballets Russes star Vaslav Nijinsky, perches on one foot atop a Fabergé egg, evocative of classical depictions of Fortuna, the goddess of luck, balancing on a ball. Along with Hippo Ballerina, these life-size sculptures were cast in Florence, Italy, at Ciglia & Carria Fonderia Artistica. 

Other acrobatically-inclined animals performing feats of fortitude will include a cheetah riding a razor scooter to glide faster, a kangaroo hopping on pogo stick to leap farther, and a frog holding on to a bouncy ball to hop higher.

Paying homage to 2000 years of art history -- and the bronze masters who helped shape it -- Skaarup’s anthropomorphic figures combine the artist’s devotion to academic study with his lighthearted wit to create a world of whimsy. 

Bjørn Okholm Skaarup

Born in Rudkøbing, Denmark, in 1973, Bjørn Okholm Skaarup was an illustrator on staff at the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, from 1994 - 2004, before moving to Florence and receiving a PhD from the European University Institute in 2009. While in Florence, he studied the work of Renaissance sculptors Donatello, Cellini, and Giambologna. He also wrote and illustrated books on history, archaeology, and anatomy.

Recent solo exhibitions in the U.S. include Carnival of the Animals at the Washington National Cathedral, DC, September 21 - November 28, 2016, and at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, October 31, 2015 - January 3, 2016. In 2015, the Collectivité of St. Barthélemy (St. Barth's) acquired a suite of 10 animal sculptures for public display throughout the island.

Skaarup’s sculptures have been exhibited at the Koldinghus Museum, Denmark; and in Italy at Museo del Cenacolo di Ognissanti, Florence; the Four Seasons Hotel, Florence; and Hotel Cipriani, Venice. Bjørn Okholm Skaarup lives and works in New York City. He is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. 

Cavalier Galleries

Cavalier Galleries was founded in 1986 by Ronald Cavalier Jr., who was introduced to the art world by his father, owner of the Cavalier Renaissance Foundry. Cavalier’s father was a pioneer in using the ceramic shell technique to cast sculpture into bronze in the late 1950s. Over the following 30 years, the Cavalier Renaissance Foundry has worked with important artists, collectors, and museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. 

Since its inception, Cavalier Galleries has organized outdoor sculpture placements for the public to enjoy. In 1999, Cavalier curated Important Sculptors of the Late Twentieth Century, which included major works by artists such as Moore, Botero, Smith, Oldenburg, Segal, and Nevelson. More recently, Cavalier Galleries introduced the work of Jim Rennert to New York City with the public installation of his sculpture, THINK BIG, at Union Square Park in 2014.

Cavalier Galleries is located in New York City at 3 West 57th Street, as well as in Greenwich, CT, and in Nantucket, MA. The Galleries’ services include art consultation and installation of works in corporate, public, and private settings; artist commissions, site-specific works, and portraiture; and sculpture preservation and restoration. For more information, visit

NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks

NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, NYC Parks has collaborated with artists and arts organizations to produce over one thousand public artworks in New York City parks. For more information about the program, visit

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