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Jewelry as an Art Form

By Paige McKirahan 

 

Fashion, as well as many other venues of design, has begun to blur the line between what is art and what is not; as jewelry is created and designed with many of the similar processes as sculptures and paintings, we would be foolish to not deem these pieces as a form of artistic expression. Jewelry can be the main visual event in any ensemble, fascinating the eyes and overloading the senses in a way that the David by Michelangelo may enthrall a museum patron at the Galleria dell'Accademia. There are so many artists and jewelry designers alike that have created wearable art that falls into neither (or both!) the fashion or fine art categories, creating a new form that appeals to all facets of the industry. Now you may be left asking “who are these designers?”, so we here at TalkingFashion have prepared a dazzling list of these artists that are sure to pique your interest and prepare you for the fast approaching MET Gala this May.

 

Pablo Picasso 

You likely know this artist for his industry-altering contributions to the art world, but many people do not know he experimented with many different medias; from sculptures to jewelry, he was truly the jack of all artistic trades. His one of kind pieces are few and far between, and their eclectic composition and mysterious existence make these works highly sought after. His most popular motifs include satyrs, minotaurs, bulls, and bullfighting, with his other pieces including imagery relevant to who he created the piece for.

 

Silver “Satyr” Pendant, Pablo Picasso (source

 

Salvador Dali

This patron of the surrealist movement has roots in the fashion industry through multiple high-profile collaborations with designers like our beloved Schiaparelli. In 1941, he invited Coco Chanel’s jewelry designer, Duke Fulco di Verdura, to discuss a collaboration that turned into a tremendous success. Many of the pieces mimicked Dali’s paintings with a refined opulence that turned their wearers into works of art themselves! Most of these works are now on display at the Dali Museum in Spain, and he summarized these jeweled masterpieces like this: “To history, they will prove that objects of pure beauty, without utility but executed marvelously, were appreciated in a time when the primary emphasis appeared to be upon the utilitarian and the material.” 

 

Example of Salvador Dalí’s jewelry.

An array of Dali jewelry pieces (source)

 

Robert Lee Morris

This sculptor and jewelry designer has made huge waves in the fashion industry with his art jewelry and collaborations with Geoffrey Beene, Kansai YamamotoCalvin KleinAnne KleinKarl LagerfeldMichael Kors and Donna Karan. His true claim to fame was a 1976 Vogue cover; the magazine featured his work in their publication over a period of 7 years in 49 consecutive issues. He is the first fine jewelry designer to receive the first jewelry designer to ever be awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and his contribution to the art world has gained him many other high profile partnerships and industry nominations!

 

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Robert Lee Morris piece on the cover of Vogue (source)

 

Georges Braque

 As a pioneer of the cubist movement alongside the other highly revered artist-turned designer Picasso, Braque is considered to be one of the most dynamic artists of the 20th century. He treated his jewels as if they were miniature sculptures, with each possessing their own personality. He commonly including natural motifs that depicted humans, fish, horses, and birds, and were considered to be some of the most beautiful fine jewelry creations of their time. His most well-known collection uses the image of a bird in flight throughout multiple jewelry styles, and they bring in tens of thousands of dollars in auctions across the globe!

Georges Braque, 1960s (source

 

Alexander Calder

Calder, who is most famous for his creation of the mobile, is an iconic sculptor who stunned the art world when he began creating his larger than life mobile jewelry pieces. His affinity for abstraction and casual grandeur shined through in his designs, and he created over 2000 works including pieces for famous friends Joan Miró and Peggy Guggenheim. His wire-shaped works are considered to be wearable sculptures and can take any look to a new level.

 

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Alexander Calder necklace (source)

 

If these artists have piqued your interests and you would like to see some of this art in action, check out this list of museums that will allow you to get up close and personal with these beautiful works!

Sources:

Cain, A. (2016, December 23). Salvador Dalí Made Jewelry That Could Turn You into a Surrealist Artwork. Retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-salvador-dali-made-jewelry-that-could-turn-you-surrealist-artwork
Cain, A. (2017, August 21). Alexander Calder's Jewelry Turns People into Living Sculptures. Retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-alexander-calders-jewelry-turns-people-living-sculptures
N.a.(2016, May 06). Art as jewellery - 10 wearable masterpieces | Christie's. Retrieved from https://www.christies.com/features/jewellery-by-artists-from-Braque-to-Bury-7333-1.aspx
Robert Lee Morris. (2019, March 24). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Lee_Morris
Skinner Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.skinnerinc.com/news/blog/pablo-picasso-jewelry/

 

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