Bulgari invited Anish Kapoor to reinterpret their B-Zero 1. Fred worked together with Jean-Paul Goode. Tiffany&Co collaborated for a collection with Frank Gehry. As for the Brazilian jeweler H.Stern, he drew inspiration from designs by Oscar Niemeyer. From the between-wars period onwards many artists have explored this territory, from Arman, Magritte, Cocteau and Man Ray to Ben and Picasso. But it’s only from the 1970s that this kind of jewelry became more widely known. Dinh Van exhibited the breast pendant by César, with its mould taken from a dancer at the Crazy Horse, which was then miniaturized. Thanks goes especially to the gallery Artcurial and its philosophy of making art part of every day life. It offers an entire space dedicated to these pieces whose value is due more to their high-level of creativity than to the materials used, like Sonia Delaunay’s enamel brooches or Lalanne’s gilt-metal necklaces featuring berry fruits, leaves and also butterflies. Artists would challenge jewelry’s basic constraints when reconsidering the size and weight of pieces: César no longer compacted cars but gold chain bracelets, rings and necklaces which were metamorphosed into pendants. For Stella McCartney, Jeff Koons downsized his rabbit. “It’s also a way to see their work, once miniaturized, can arouse the same level of emotion”, explains gallery owner Pierre-Alain Challier. Along with often being highly creative and full of humor, artist-jewelry can also be sentimental with many examples being created for family and close friends. Calder began sculpting necklaces for his sister’s doll. The collector, Diane Vernet recounts the day when her husband, Bernard, spontaneously wound metal wire around his finger. “For Picasso, it’s clearly question of seduction, a way of saying I desire you or I love you”, explains Pierre-Alain Challier. It is never really a question of producing a series of jewelry pieces; they are often edited in just a few examples or even just as a one-off piece.
*Bijoux d’artistes aux éditions Flammarion