Organized by Sarah Coffin, Curator and Head of the museum’s Product Design and Decorative Arts department, this exhibition examines and showcases the principal creations of Van Cleef & Arpels that have influenced the history of design in the 20th century. More than 300 pieces of jewelry, watches, fashion accessories and art objects will be on display alongside commission books, manufacturing cards and many of the Maison’s archives.
The highly original installation by French architect and designer Patrick Jouin takes the visitor on a journey steeped in design and history throughout the exhibition.
Six themes that reflect the essential spirit of Van Cleef & Arpels will be represented:
– Innovation: A focus on craftsmanship and the precision of world-class artisans includes the most beautiful examples of Mystery Setting, the revolutionary gem-setting technique perfected by the Maison in 1933.
– Transformation: Discerning hallmarks of many of the precious jewels from the Van Cleef & Arpels collections are their abilities to seamlessly change form, such as the Zip necklace.
– Nature: Ties between the prodigious vitality of the natural world and the Maison have led to the birth of some of the most iconic and beautiful pieces in the archives and contemporary collections.
– Exoticism: The influences from such Middle and Far East worlds of Egypt, India, China and Japan are hence beautifully revealed in a mix of incredible jewelry and artistic objects.
– Fashion: Demonstrative of serene femininity and creations inspired by couture, precious metals and stones form jeweled ribbons, lace and bows as the ultimate in exquisite trimmings.
– Celebrities: Grace Kelly, Daisy Fellowes and Marlene Dietrich are among the legendary women of the stage, screen and royal set who have graced history with Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic jewels.
This stroll through the heart of Van Cleef & Arpels’ style is an enchanting opportunity to discover the expertise of the Maison, the magic of exceptional precious stones and the astonishing virtuosity of its Mains d’Or, the master craftsmen.
Since its illustrious birth on the Place Vendôme in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has represented both the timeless heritage so admired by collectors and a creative energy constantly renewed.