Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Designed to catch the eye

 The first sixty-seven pages of this lavish book are four illustrated essays on deco jewelry but basically from a French perspective (it was originally published by Editions Norma, Paris). One by Arlette Barre: Captivating the world, nicely covers the wider aspects of the subject and the connection to the various art 'isms' of the first thirty-five years of the last century and the importance of the 1925 Paris International Exposition.

Another essay intriguingly considers jewelry and graphic design (plus typography) but looking through the pages at rings, bracelets, pendants and vanity cases I can see a connection between the flat graphics of posters and deco book covers of the period. Jean Fouquet and Gerard Sandoz work captures this feel perfectly. So much of the jewelry here is a clear contrast to the Art Deco bronze and ivory statues of Chiparus, Descomps or Preiss with their precise detail of dancer's costumes and females faces.

After the essays the rest of the book considers eighteen designers and companies who probably produced the world's finest deco jewelry between 1910 and 1937. Each name gets several pages with an essay and photos (mostly color) of their work which are all captioned though oddly without any dimensions for the pieces.

Art Deco jewelry is an excellent look at this particular creative art but also worth considering is a book with the same title by Sylvie Raulet published as a chunky paperback in 2002 with 792 photos (261 in color).

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