Simply Brilliant

Page 1

Simply Brilliant

Cynthia Amnéus is Chief Curator and Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles, Cincinnati Art Museum

Artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

Ruth Peltason is an editor and author of a survey about jewelry of the 1960s and 1970s Rosemary Ransome Wallis is former Art Director and Curator, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London Amanda Triossi is an independent jewelry historian and author

Also available from GILES THE CIRCLE AND THE LINE The Jewelry of Betty Cooke Jeannine Fallino In association with the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Amnéus

BEDAZZLED, 5,000 YEARS OF JEWELRY The Walters Art Museum Sabine Albersmeier In association with the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

ISBN 978-1-911282-52-5 Distributed in the USA and Canada by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution The Keg House 34 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 101 Minneapolis, MN 55413-1007 USA cbsd.com Distributed in French-speaking markets by mare & martin 16, rue Danton - 94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre France mareetmartin.com GILES An imprint of D Giles Limited 66 High Street, Lewes BN7 1XG UK gilesltd.com

Jewelry Art-200526-Cover FINAL.indd 1

Cynthia Amnéus, Adam MacPhàrlain, Ruth Peltason, Rosemary Ransome Wallis, and Amanda Triossi

simply brilliant

Adam MacPhàrlain is Curatorial Assistant of Fashion Arts and Textiles, Cincinnati Art Museum

Simply Brilliant is full of stunning, one-of-akind jewelry pieces, which reflect the inventive, forward-thinking attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s. Most, if not all, of the individual makers of these decades considered themselves to be artists first, jewelers second. This beautifully illustrated volume explores the ground breaking 1961 Goldsmiths’ Hall Exhibition in London, which brought a new direction in jewelry design to the fore. Contemporary designers John Donald, Arthur King, Andrew Grima and Gilbert Albert, among others, influenced major jewelry houses such as Cartier, Bulgari, Chopard, and Van Cleef & Arpels, and paved the way for an international movement in fashion and design. The 1960s and 1970s were characterized by rebellion and intense cultural change, in which ornaments took many forms. From spaceage plastic earrings to the hippie’s beaded necklace inspired by non-Western cultures, new approaches to bodily adornment—including jewelry—expressed individuality, nonconformity, and the wearer’s aesthetic, political and intellectual values. All of the pieces in this new volume, drawn from the Kimberly Klosterman collection in Cincinnati, are outstanding examples of this modern spirit.

simply brilliant artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

UK£39.95 / US$49.95 978-1-911282-52-5

Amnéus

Front cover illustration Jean Vendome, Collier Veracruz (Veracruz Necklace), 1972, detail of cat. 107 Back cover illustration Chopard, “Alexandra” Watch, circa 1971, cat. 32

27/05/2020 13:19


Preface

Cameron Silver

Too much good taste can be boring. —Diana Vreeland It was the early aughts and we were at the sunkissed Richard Neutra home of Ronnie and Vidal Sassoon in Bel Air. I was co-hosting a trunk show of treasures curated by jewelry collector Kimberly Klosterman. Standing on the terrazzo floor, I perused Kimberly’s eclectic collection. Amid a captivating presentation of textured sautoirs, astrological pendants, and chandelier-sized earrings, I zeroed in on a knuckle-duster ring with a very abstract gold mount and a strange lavender stone. I put the ring on and it fit. That is always a tell-tale sign for me: if it’s vintage, unusual, and it fits, I know I’m in trouble. Kimberly explained that the stone was chalcedony and was historically used extensively by the celebrated and influential Parisian designer Suzanne Belperron in the 1940s. It was peculiar, rather like wearing a jellyfish, and it challenged me. There was no signature indicating the artist who designed the ring. This only added to its mystery. Jolie laide is what the French affectionately call something that is both beautiful and ugly. Kimberly and I spoke of the courtship in selecting a piece of jewelry. “Is this ugly or fabulous?” she asked. It was both. I purchased it and over the next two decades Kimberly has been my source for procuring jewelry that adorns, but also confronts. When I find something from Kimberly, it inevitably means I am making a statement. Like most collectors, Kimberly trod a circuitous path to discover her signature style. She started off with cream pitchers and, as she approached her late teens, realized jewelry was a better match. At first it was signed sterling Trifari, then Austro-Hungarian

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jewelry. Her father collected magic apparatus and certainly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What Kimberly has amassed is filled with mysterious, otherworldly chunks of gold and garnet, dangles of diamonds, and sculptures of sapphire, opals, pearls, amethyst, ruby, and citrine, often in one cocktail ring! Occasionally, Kimberly and I have collaborated with collections of jewelry for my Los Angeles store, Decades. My clients have gravitated toward Kimberly’s aesthetic because she is a maximalist. However, she has her rules. “You shouldn’t wear more than three pieces of jewelry at once, but you can have an armful of bracelets, which I count as one.” Also, “Everything goes together . . . although I am old school. I like my metals to match.” Inevitably, because she is a visionary, Kimberly’s possessions have gone mainstream. Kimberly was having an Aldo Cipullo moment before Cartier reissued Cipullo’s famous 1970s nail design, Juste un Clou, in 2012. Similarly, prior to Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s Cartier vermeil belt/necklace worn in Capri selling for $24,000 at Sotheby’s in 1996, Kimberly had recognized it as collectible (fig. 1). Once-neglected names like Andrew Grima, Arthur King, and Jean Vendome are now celebrated along with those of Jean Schlumberger and David Webb. Kimberly Klosterman’s aesthetic reflects the cultural zeitgeist of the decades she collects. With an emphasis on the 1960s and ’70s, the jewelry represents a design movement that reacted to the moon landing, rock ‘n’ roll, the Vietnam War, Flower Power, and major social changes. “People like what they know, rather than know what they like,” Kimberly explained, as she has educated my novice eye to be both discerning but ultimately


Figure 1 Unsigned Ring (1960s), Aldo Cipullo “Juste un Clou” Bracelet (1970s), and Cartier vermeil Belt/ Necklace (circa 1970), from the author’s collection. Photography by Brooke Taffet.

visceral and vulnerable to the beauty of the art of jewelry that isn’t always conventional. When I procured that first strange piece from Kimberly, I questioned whether I had the confidence to carry off such a large chunk of jewelry. “It’s not the size of the person, it’s the size of the personality,” she instructed me. Kimberly’s collection has honed in on a certain group of rarefied artist-jewelers with a distinctly esoteric point of view. These pieces were designed for a very select

crowd, but decades later they are now appreciated by a broader audience, thanks to Kimberly’s discerning eye and insatiable appetite to search for treasures from Tennessee to Tokyo. What was once considered big and ugly is now considered big and beautiful. What once was being scrapped for metal and gems is now being celebrated in museums. As for that chalcedony ring, it was the start of an alluring relationship with many more marvelously peculiar pieces that may

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Cross-Fertilization From Jewelers to Jewelry Houses

Amanda Triossi By the early 1960s, the characterizing elements that most artist-jewelers strove to achieve in their precious creations were abstract shapes typified by jagged contours. These were rendered mainly in yellow gold—often looking like frozen molten metal—sparingly highlighted by a sparkle of diamonds. Jewelers wanted yellow gold to have the appearance of a raw, unrefined material. They strove to manipulate gold sheet or to cast gold to make it look “natural” and to achieve interesting textures with a faux appearance of being accidental.1 Later, once this look became outmoded, it was derided as “gold nugget jewelry,” but the style reflected the tumult of that decade, when so many societal, cultural, and stylistic norms shifted forever. As artist-jeweler Andrew Grima stated: “I disliked . . . shiny gold polished like a mirror. I set to work . . . experimenting with all the techniques available at the time to make gold look like a material which nature might have produced” (cat. 56).2 One typical design approach of the time was to juxtapose the smooth polish of faceted gemstones with the characteristically rough gold surround. At times, however, even the gems were rough, as artist-jewelers did not shun mounting uncut stones. The use of rough gems in jewelry

is not a novelty; in earlier periods, unfaceted gemstones, left in their natural crystal habit, had been selected for their symmetry.3 By the 1960s, jewelers were seeking unusual and unconventional gem specimens especially for the irregularity of their crystal formations, so as to preserve intact the stone’s natural beauty, which was considered spoiled by polishing or re-cutting (cat 2).4 This disregard of conventional precious gem material was another characteristic of artist-jewelers of this period. The new “natural” style spread rapidly and was accepted relatively quickly by mainstream collectors—even by royalty, a clientele not particularly receptive to innovation.5 By the mid1960s, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Fred, Gübelin, Kutchinsky, H. Stern, Van Cleef & Arpels, Webb, and Wolfers were all producing jewels— and Chopard, Omega, and Piaget, watches—in a spirit similar to that of the more adventurous artist-jewelers (fig. 7, cats. 47, 68, 80, and 104, for instance). At times these firms employed artist-jewelers to design individual pieces, and sometimes entire lines of jewelry. Jewelers working with precious materials tend to be fairly retrospective and lag behind the times. The early modern twentieth-century jewelry

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Figure 7 Brooch in gold with natural pearls and diamonds, circa 1970, Bulgari Heritage Collection; formerly in the collection of Leonard (Sophie) Davis. Figure 8 Article about painter-turnedjeweler Ada Minola in Italian fashion magazine Bellezza, September 1954.

known as Art Deco only came to the forefront in the years that coincided with the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. However, the seeds for this innovative style of jewelry had been sown previously. 6 They were already mature by the first decade of the twentieth century in other spheres of the arts7 and in some avant-garde jewels designed by artists. 8 Understandably, given the high value of the intrinsic materials they employ, jewelers are—among artists— the least likely to risk creating noncommercial items. During his employment as chief designer at Patek Philippe, Gilbert Albert recalled, “Major jewelry houses never take risks when it comes to producing precious items.” 9 Indeed, by the

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Cross-Fertilization

mid-1960s, both artists and mainstream jewelers were, to a certain degree, working in this new way, suggesting that this style was already widely accepted and recognized as the fashion and not as an uncommercial avant-garde trend. One could draw a parallel between the 1925 Paris Exposition and the 1961 London International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery 1890–1961.10 That landmark exhibition of over 900 jewels and from some 30 countries included a section of contemporary jewels that presented the distinguishing features of 1960s fine jewelry design. Just like the earlier Paris Exposition, the 1961 exhibition showcased a mature style— an aspect again confirmed by Gilbert Albert, who exhibited four uncompromisingly modern



Necklace, circa 1970 Gold 8 1/8 × 5 5/8 × 1/2 in. (20.6 × 14.3 × 1.3 cm)

Chaumet was Paris’s oldest established jeweler and the elegant patricians predominant among its clientele were traditionally reserved, undoubtedly desiring jewelry that corresponded with that constraint. However, in 1970 Chaumet opened what was called a space age annex next door to its fine jewelry shop in the Place Vendôme. The new boutique was described as “an arcade in stark geometric volumes covered with blond and black anodized aluminum, the inside is sheathed in tortoiseshell lacquer, with display cabinets like suspended cubes of transparent glass.” Contemporary electronic music greeted the clientele. It was in this setting that Chaumet

1. Monique, “Latest from Paris,” New York Daily News,

presented a single four-inchlong earring, giant geometrically lobed necklaces with textured gold surfaces, and jagged bracelets that joined with finger rings. The boutique’s inventory was called barbarically exciting. Chaumet saw the value in serving both ends of the spectrum, offering more accessible jewelry to a modern clientele in a less intimidating atmosphere.1 This rigid, hammered necklace with its textured surface is typical of the jewelry sold in Chaumet’s annex. With this kind of work, the house allowed its designers to experiment with new forms and techniques, always favoring sophistication over ostentation.

July 9, 1970; Alexis Gregory, Chaumet, Paris: Vendome, Birthplace of a Legend (New York: Assouline, 2016).

108

Catalog


109


148

Catalog


Cat. 53 Mantide Mimetica (Camouflage Mantis), late 1960s Marcasite and quartz-encrusted anthracite, gold, enamel, rubies, steel Overall: 10 1/2 × 5 × 5 in. (26.7 × 12.7 × 12.7 cm) Mantis: 5 7/16 × 3 7/16 × 5/8 in. (13.8 × 8.7 × 1.6 cm)

Classically trained, Romolo Grassi studied with sculptors, which was traditional in Italy. It is little wonder therefore that, along with jewelry, he created objets d’art. Like Grassi, his peers—and not only those from Italy—viewed jewelry as miniature sculptures. Many fashioned larger objects. This example is particularly impressive as it is simply a decorative object to be enjoyed, rather than a serviceable piece such as a trophy or ecclesiastical vessel. Using unconventional materials, Grassi seemingly

broke open a large geode, exposing its crystal interior. A larger-thanlife gold and enamel praying mantis, with an impressive leaf-inspired body, explores the opening. Although removable and completely articulated (see pp. 234–5), the mantis is neither a brooch nor a pendant. Grassi conceived of this piece purely as sculpture mimicking nature. The rough steel base gives the piece a suitable gravitas and couples seamlessly with the naturally rugged exterior of the geode.

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Cat. 69 Necklace, Bracelet, and Earrings, 1960s Gold, abalone, pearls Necklace: 8 1/2 × 5 1/2 × 9/16 in. (21.6 × 14.0 × 1.4 cm) Bracelet: 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm) Earrings: 1 × 13/16 × 5/8 in. (2.5 × 2.1 × 1.6 cm)

164

Catalog


165


204

Catalog


Lisa Sotilis (Greece, b. circa 1944)

Born in Athens and nicknamed the “Golden Greek,� Lisa Sotilis is a painter, sculptor, and jeweler.1 She quickly gained attention for her work. Beginning in 1965, she was represented by famed art dealer

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animals (particularly birds), flowers, and human figures, though he also produced a number of nonrepresentational pieces. In addition to combining diamonds and other precious gems with gold, Sterlé favored colored semi-precious stones and other minerals such as labradorite and moss agate. His pieces were called “today’s heirlooms” by Women’s Wear Daily in 1967.3 Sterlé partnered with surrealist artist Salvador Dalí multiple times. In 1965, he produced a group of jeweled gifts that consisted of an ashtray, a hand mirror, and evening bags. Other surrealist work included bracelets “stapled” with diamonds and a necklace with jeweled “thumb

tacks” connecting baguette diamonds. At the end of the decade, he produced a gold flatware set and decanters with enamelwork designed by Dalí. In 1961, Sterlé was commissioned by an anonymous patron, facilitated through gem expert Lewis S. Weber, to create a 100-diamond necklace. In the same year, however, the jeweler found himself struggling financially, in part due to the failure of two perfumes he had introduced, and he sold his designs to Chaumet. He recovered from this misfortune and opened a shop in the rue SaintHonoré, but it proved unsuccessful, and in 1976 he liquidated his stock, much of which was purchased by Chaumet. Sterlé became a technical consultant at Chaumet until his death in 1978.

1. Monique, “Latest from Paris,” New York Daily News, April 11, 1961. 2. “Paris: New Jewelry Proves Imaginative,” New York Times, February 5, 1958. 3. “Today’s Heirlooms,” Women’s Wear Daily, April 7, 1967.

212

Catalog


Cat. 96 Brooch, circa 1967 Gold, emeralds, diamonds 4 1/4 × 1 1/4 × 3/4 in. (10.8 × 3.2 × 1.9 cm)

Cat. 97 Necklace, circa 1970 Gold 9 1/4 × 5 3/16 × 9/16 in. (23.5 × 13.2 × 1.4 cm)

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Simply Brilliant

Cynthia Amnéus is Chief Curator and Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles, Cincinnati Art Museum

Artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

Ruth Peltason is an editor and author of a survey about jewelry of the 1960s and 1970s Rosemary Ransome Wallis is former Art Director and Curator, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London Amanda Triossi is an independent jewelry historian and author

Also available from GILES THE CIRCLE AND THE LINE The Jewelry of Betty Cooke Jeannine Fallino In association with the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Amnéus

BEDAZZLED, 5,000 YEARS OF JEWELRY The Walters Art Museum Sabine Albersmeier In association with the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

ISBN 978-1-911282-52-5 Distributed in the USA and Canada by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution The Keg House 34 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 101 Minneapolis, MN 55413-1007 USA cbsd.com Distributed in French-speaking markets by mare & martin 16, rue Danton - 94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre France mareetmartin.com GILES An imprint of D Giles Limited 66 High Street, Lewes BN7 1XG UK gilesltd.com

Cynthia Amnéus, Adam MacPhàrlain, Ruth Peltason, Rosemary Ransome Wallis, and Amanda Triossi

simply brilliant

Adam MacPhàrlain is Curatorial Assistant of Fashion Arts and Textiles, Cincinnati Art Museum

Simply Brilliant is full of stunning, one-of-akind jewelry pieces, which reflect the inventive, forward-thinking attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s. Most, if not all, of the individual makers of these decades considered themselves to be artists first, jewelers second. This beautifully illustrated volume explores the ground breaking 1961 Goldsmiths’ Hall Exhibition in London, which brought a new direction in jewelry design to the fore. Contemporary designers John Donald, Arthur King, Andrew Grima, and Gilbert Albert, among others, influenced major jewelry houses such as Cartier, Bulgari, Chopard, and Van Cleef & Arpels, and paved the way for an international movement in fashion and design. The 1960s and 1970s were characterized by rebellion and intense cultural change, in which ornaments took many forms. From spaceage plastic earrings to the hippie’s beaded necklace inspired by non-Western cultures, new approaches to bodily adornment—including jewelry—expressed individuality, nonconformity, and the wearer’s aesthetic, political, and intellectual values. All of the pieces in this new volume, drawn from the Kimberly Klosterman collection in Cincinnati, are outstanding examples of this modern spirit.

simply brilliant artist-jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s

UK£40.00 / US$54.95 978-1-911282-52-5

Amnéus

Front cover illustration Jean Vendome, Collier Veracruz (Veracruz Necklace), 1972, detail of cat. 107 Back cover illustration Chopard, “Alexandra” Watch, circa 1971, cat. 32