L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts presents Birds in Paradise from May 15 to July 13. This original exhibition showcases a selection of iconic brooches coming from two private collections and the Heritage Collection of the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels. These brooches will be exhibited in a setting evocative of a birds’ paradise and reflect the popularity of representations of birds, vibrant delicate creatures, a link between earth and sky. These pieces foster a dialogue with some remarkable patrimonial works, on special loan from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Musée National de Céramique de Sèvres.
The increase in the representation of birds in jewelry from the late 19th century onwards echoes the penchant for decorative naturalism, then highly popular in interior decoration. Many of the naturalia collections developed by natural history enthusiasts at that time featured artistic montages, displaying specimens known as "bird paradises" (in French “paradis d’oiseaux”).
This trend was symptomatic of a taste for romance, curiosity and travel, and was inspired by the growing knowledge of birds disseminated in richly illustrated ornithological publications. In turn, jewelry demonstrated an increasingly sophisticated view of ornithological diversity, morphology and behavior, allowing the creations to reveal a certain stylistic audacity while remaining faithful to the bird’s appearance and beauty.
The exhibition takes visitors on a journey between heaven and earth, recreating the abundance of birds typically found in artistic depictions of paradise. It presents a number of iconic bird brooches created among others by Baugrand, Cartier, Mauboussin, Mellerio, Rouvenat, Sterle and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as works from prestigious public collections representing birds on land, perched on branches and in flight, through the media of painting, drawing, engraving and ceramics.
The selected pieces offer visitors an insight into jewelry creation and the arts in general, highlighting the artist’s work around the representation of the bird’s body, plumage and movement, at once naturalistic and stylized, alternating between a faithful depiction of nature and formal audacity, realism and symbolism.
The curatorship of this exhibition was entrusted to Joëlle Garcia, Curator in charge of the Cultural Diffusion and Mediation Service for the Libraries of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, and to Marion Millet, Scientific Coordinator for the City of Versailles.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, directed by Guillaume Glorieux, Director of Education and Research at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts.
From May 15 to July 13 2019
Free admission from monday to saturday, 12pm to 7pm
L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts
31, rue Danielle Casanova, 75001 Paris