Thursday March 31st in Paris, in the Moulding and Casting Gallery of the City of Architecture and Heritage, just opposite the Eiffel Tower: Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest watch manufacturer in uninterrupted activity since its founding, hosted a hundred or so guests in its capacity as patron of the “Talents d’Exception” exhibition and in the company of Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister for Culture and Communication Frédéric Lefebvre, Secretary of State responsible for Handicraft, Jean-Michel Delisle, President of the INMA, as well as Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin. The eminent guest roster included Alain Griset, President of the Permanent Assembly of the Chambers of Crafts and Craftsmanship and of the National Fund for the Promotion and Communication of Craftsmanship, Serge Nicole, President of the Atelier d’Art de France and the Honourable Senator Catherine Dumas.
In the course of this exhibition, guests were able to admire the work in ten ateliers devoted to bottle-making, to straw marquetry work, to gilding, to felt-making and textiles, to haute couture; as well as the crafst of Art Deco cabinet-making, gold thread embroidery, lacquering, lithography, fan-making, watchmaking by a Vacheron Constantin watchmaker, the Genevese technique of Grand Feu enamelled miniature painting, and the maki-e technique exercised by a master lacquerer from the Zôhiko company flown in specially from Kyoto for this exhibition.
On this occasion, Vacheron Constantin presented two new models in its Métiers d’Art collection. Firstly, a tribute to the time-honoured Genevese art of Grand Feu enamelled miniature painting with a unique model in the Métiers d’Art “Chagall & L’Opéra de Paris” collection, dedicated to the work of P.I. Tchaikovsky. And secondly, a tribute to the ancestral Japanese art of maki-e, in cooperation with the Zôhiko company, with three new creations from the Métiers d’Art “La Symbolique des Laques” collection. In his speech, Juan-Carlos Torres reminded listeners that the Geneva-based Manufacture is “dedicated to perpetuating a heritage and to passing on the human values that define its know-how”, and that “Vacheron Constantin shares with artistic crafts its faith in the wealth of human talent and its creative thrust; as well as its admiration for the ability some people have of raising their hand-crafted work to an art form; an ability which shows that the human hand is unequalled in its capacity to stir emotions…”
Meanwhile, Frédéric Mitterrand expressed his delight in joining with Vacheron Constantin in “inaugurating this beautiful Talents d’Exception exhibition which highlights the skills of these Masters of Art, of their Students, as well as of all the great artistic craftspeople of the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, representing since 1755 a perfect example in the watchmaking field of the meticulous care and patience required for these crafts of excellence and refinement”. In his inaugural speech, he also thanks “this grand Manufacture for having agreed to be one of the main partners of these Days alongside the Ateliers d’Art de France and the Chambers of Crafts and Craftsmanship, and of having thereby contributed to the success of this event.”
About the French National Institute of Arts and Crafts (INMA): Created in 2010, the INMA is a structure with unique responsibility for crafts jointly supervised by the Minister for Culture and Communication, the Secretary of State Responsible for Trade, Handicraft, Small and Medium Enterprises, Tourism, and Consumer Affairs Services, and of the Ministry of National Education.
This institute has four main tasks:
– Develop expertise on artistic crafts and know-how in order to foster their development and dissemination among professionals, the general public and schools;
– Animate all Craftsmanship networks with stakeholders (professionals, services);
– Develop the promotion of crafts both nationally and internationally
– Explore new fields of cultural development in the areas of art, design and fashion arts.
About the Journées des Métiers d’Art : The Journées des Métiers d’Art (Artistic Craft Days) were initiated by the French ministry devoted to handicrafts in 2002, in order to encourage the general public to look at these crafts in a different way and to become aware of their values in terms of modernity and innovation; to make them known to a younger audience and to identify them as promisingly future-oriented; as well as to contribute to the economic development of this sector and to foster new vocations. For three days running from April 1st to 3rd 2011, the Journées des Métiers d’Art invite the public at large to meet a number of passionately dedicated men and women. The event features 3,000 workshops to visit, a number of skills demonstrations, exceptional open days in training centres, as well as prestigious exhibitions, lectures and symposiums throughout France. Stepping into the workshops of true professionals, observing them in action, listening to them telling about their passion, and seeing them in a new light. Such is the spirit governing the Journées des Métiers d’Art. This event will also provide a chance to present the many training courses, diplomas and internships available in the sector. Encounters with professionals in the workshops and with teachers in training centres may well inspire new callings.