Tuesday, 26 August 2014

PARIS BIENNALE: amazing aquamarine Art Deco bracelet by Jean Fouquet

Jean Fouquet, Art Deco Aquamarine, diamond and enamel bracelet, Paris 1926

During the Art Deco period of the early 1910s to late 1930s emerged a movement that stripped away unnecessary decoration, implemented simple forms, and found inspiration in the modern machine. This new avant-garde movement attracted a select group of artists known as the bijoutiers-artistes, or artist-jewelers, who focused on a modern aesthetic rather than material value. A group of artists, including artist-jewelers Raymond Templier, Jean Dunand, Jean Després, Gerard Sandoz, and Georges and Jean Fouquet formed the Union des Artistes Modernes as a reaction to the prevailing artistic movements of the times. A chief proponent of this movement, Jean Fouquet was a purist who believed in excellent workmanship and having his designs consistently reflecting his aesthetic.

This bracelet is a perfect blend of Fouquet's modern taste with the pristine excellence of fine jewelry. Fouquet, who preferred using semi-precious stones, cleverly combined unusual materials together with the use of large step-cut aquamarines within a ground of geometric enamel sections, then accented by bands of pavé-set diamonds that appear to be woven into the enamel pieces. The large surfaces of black enamel bring fluidity to the bracelet connecting the various gemstones and geometric shapes in this superbly designed bold jewel.

Jean Fouquet's audacious and innovative designs for his father were created only for a short time from 1925 to 1931. This bracelet, designed in 1926 just after the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, is a seminal work of Art Deco design, complete with the original drawing and the original case. Fouquet was inspired by the form of the cuff bracelet and its ability to be seen from afar, he once said, “A piece of jewelry must be composed of masses clearly visible from a distance.” He explained, “Objects glimpsed at top speed become distorted and we can only perceive them by their volume . . . Today we have become accustomed to reading quickly.” This bracelet leaves a striking impression upon the viewer and is an exceptional example of abstract sculpture. The piece is made even more incredible when worn on the wrist. This magnificent bracelet embodies the avant-garde spirit of Art Deco design.

Jean Fouquet's drawing

Maison Fouquet was founded in Paris in 1862 by Alphonse Fouquet, who exhibited jewelry inspired by sphinxes and chimeras at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris. In 1895, he was succeeded by his son, Georges, a designer and shrewd businessman respected among his peers and a commander of the Légion d'Honneur. At the turn of the century, graphic designer Alphonse Mucha created imaginative jewels for the company. Jean Fouquet joined the family firm in 1920, designing avant-garde jewelry based on rectilinear precepts. After the firm closed in February 1936, he worked on commissions for private clients.

It will be offered for sale by Siegelson at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires.