Jewelry As Art: An Intellectual Trend

The great artists of the twentieth century revolutionized the idea of aesthetics and broke down barriers between art and jewelry. Now, the contemporary jewelry world is paying homage to their works with conceptual, experimental and playful jewels


This past March, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris inaugurated 'De Calder À Koons, Bijoux D’Artistes. La Collection Idéale De Diane Venet', an exhibition that features the talent of contemporary painters and sculpture as applied to jewelry, with pieces collected in the nineteen-thirties by Diane Venet: «Unique art objects, priceless in terms of their value and the symbolic meaning that is often the genesis of their creation» this is how Venet has described them. Her collection, which will be on display through July 8, 2018, is presented alongside exceptional pieces on loan from important galleries, including from Louisa Guinness’ gallery in London. This past December, founder Louisa Guinness published her rst book: 'Art as Jewellery: from Calder to Kapoor,' which features the work of the great masters from the twentieth and twenty- first centuries: including Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, all the way to Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry, important gures from contemporary art who revolutionized the way jewels were made, putting the focus on meaning and function. «The time had come to open doors in people’s minds to this whole new subject matter and answer their questions, particularly at a time when art jewelry is attracting more attention than it ever has before,» said Guinness. In her space in the Mayfair area of London has dealt in art jewelry for about fteen years. Her words also apply to the world of fashion, which has always mirrored the biggest socio-cultural trends. Take, for example, the large unusual earrings inspired by Alexander Calder’s experimental art seen at the Proenza Schouler fashion show presenting collections for S/S 2017.

Artistic inspirations were also seen that season at fashion shows for Loewe, Maison Martin Margiela, Missoni, Off-White, Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani. While some of the biggest artists from the modern art era took on jewelry, the titans of twentieth- century art seem to have made an impact on the world of fashion in order to launch an intellectual trend that has also won over contemporary jewelry. We saw that last summer with 'Untitled', a collection conceived by Stephanie Wenk, art director of Amsterdam Sauer, one of the most important jewelry brands in Brazil. The design of the creations interacted with abstract or gurative forms and with the colors most associated with certain artistic movement like Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art and Expressionism. The result is a series of unmistakeable precious pieces. The idea of looking to the work of the great artists of the past in order to create original accessories, which are small masterpieces themselves meant to adorn, is now a tangible trend. There are many brands that seem to pay homage to Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso with their collections. There’s a big focus on essential lines, which take inspiration from women’s curves. Faces, entire gures and delicate poses are featured in earrings, necklaces and pendants with slender structures, representing the interaction among illusion, form and feminine power.

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