These are two rare sculptures made by Cartier in 1925 depicting the branches of a Japanese apple blossom. They are set in gold using stained ivory and enamel for the main branches and cabochon moostone in the flowers. The bases are made of agate.
They will be auctioned by Christie's Hong Kong on May 29th
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Notes from the Catalogue
"During the first decade of the twentieth century, Cartier created objects of vertu in the Russian style. Card cases, powder boxes, cigarette cases, and paper knives were just a few of the items, but perhaps the most fanciful were sculpted animals and flowers. According to Hans Nadelhoffer inCartier: Jewelers Extraordinary," ... in 1916 Vogue wrote of 'Cartier's dainty hothouses in which fairy-tale trees with gold and silver trunks sprout leave of jade.'" In some of the more inventive examples trunks were sculpted out of ivory as exemplified by these two apple blossom branch sculptures.
The arrangement of each flower or plant in Cartier's naturalistic repertoire was influenced by the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, ikebana. Superb examples are the apple blossom branches that are each created with a stained ivory branch sprouting flowers. Also indebted to Japanese models were the individual calyxes detached from the plant and lying on the ground as seen on both arrangements where moonstones have fallen from the branch to the base as well as onto the floor of the case. Capturing the flower as it begins to fade illustrates the Japanese depiction of nature in its transitory state.
All of Cartier's flowers and trees were housed within glass cases that not only kept the piece free of dust but also positioned the sculpture as a work of art. This pair of apple blossom branch sculptures epitomises the ingenuity and superb workmanship of this venerable house."