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 loaned by two private collectors and from the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels Heritage Collection. These brooches will be exhibited in a setting evocative of a birds’ paradise and will reflect the popularity of representations of birds, vibrant delicate creatures that act as 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 Cité de la céramique - Sèvres et Limoges.
“Paradis d’Oiseaux” (“Birds in Paradise”)
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 “paradis d’oiseaux” (“birds in paradise”).
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 earth and sky, 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, Sterlé and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as works from prestigious public collections representing birds on land, perched on branches and in flight, in the form of paintings, drawings, engravings 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, from the naturalistic to the stylized, alternating between a faithful depiction of nature and formal audacity, between realism and symbolism.
This exhibition is curated by 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, under the supervision of Guillaume Glorieux, Director of Education and Research at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts.
May 15 to July 13, 2019
Open Monday to Saturday, 12 pm to 7 pm
L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts
31, rue Danielle Casanova, 75001 Paris