Posted on October 06, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Some notable artists have a penchant for jewelry making in addition to their pursuit of masterpiece paintings and sculptures. Here's a glimpse at just two modern artists who also created fascinating jewelry.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was an American sculptor remembered for his introduction of mobile sculptures—sculptures that moved in response to touch or air currents. Calder’s work is generally categorized as surrealist or abstract. He also created wire figures and monumental sculptures, painted aircrafts and cars, and crafted jewelry!
Over the course of his career, Calder created over 2,000 pieces of jewelry. Many were gifts to his loved ones. Using brass, steel, ceramic, wood, and glass, Calder took inspiration from Africa, among other foreign locales, to create original and beautiful pieces.
Peggy Guggenheim, famous heiress and art collector, was one of the notable wearers of Calder’s jewelry. At the 1942 opening of her New York Gallery (The Art of This Century), she wore one earring by Calder and another by Yves Tanguy to symbolize her allegiance to both surreal and abstract art.
Alexander Calder Bracelet, circa 1930. Brass, silver, and still wire.
Georgia O'Keeffe, Teeny Duchamp (wife of Marcel Duchamp) Jeanne Rucar (wife of the filmmaker Luis Buñuel), and Bella Rosenfeld (wife of painter Marc Chagall) are other figures who enjoyed the gift of Calder’s jewelry.
Alexander Calder Earrings, circa 1940. Silver wire.
Fun fact: Calder first dabbled in jewelry at the age of eight. With copper wire he found in the street, he created jewelry for his sister’s dolls.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is undoubtedly a household name, and most of us know him for his cubist and surrealist paintings. But like Calder, Picasso was multi-talented and interested in a variety of media.
In the 1950s and 60s, Pablo collaborated with Jeweler François Hugo to create pieces in high-karat gold.
Le Grand Faune brooch of 23k gold, 20/20 edition François Hugo after Pablo Picasso, 1973.
Perhaps more interesting than Picasso's collaboration with Hugo is the recently-discovered, one-of-kind jewelry he made in the 1930s and 40s. In 1998, it was discovered that Picasso decorated a collection of brooches, rings, and amulets for his lover Dora Maar (their relationship lasted from 1936-1945).
The pieces were found in Maar’s apartment following her death and were later auctioned to bidders from across the globe. Jewelry expert Marc Blondeau recounts the discovery of the jewelry: “The jewelry was all over the place, under beds, in old shoeboxes. She kept it very zealously as a memento to Picasso.” This amazing find was news to even experts in modernist jewelry.
Ink and color pencil drawing by Picasso set in frame-shaped pendant for Dora Maar, circa 1936-1939.
Stone amulets by Picasso for Dora Maar, circa 1936-1939.
Fun fact: A zest for jewelry appears to run in the Picasso family. Paloma Picasso, Pablo’s daughter, has designed jewelry for Tiffany’s.
The fact that world-renowned modern artists have dabbled in jewelry just goes to show that jewelry, more than serve as mere trinkets, can truly be wearable art. What do you think?
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Photos: Wikimedia Commons, aleCalder Foundation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Jewelry Loupe