Van Cleef & Arpels to stage major exhibition in Tokyo
Indian bracelets transformable into a choker
October 20, 2009 – The world famous French jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels will stage a major retrospective exhibition, “The Spirit of Beauty”, celebrating over 100 years of its creations, at the Mori Arts Centre in Tokyo from October 31 to January 17.
Named after a renowned Van Cleef & Arpels clip in the form of a fairy, “The Spirit of Beauty” will unveil jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d’art; over 250 pieces selected from the jewellery house’s private collection, and also from private French and international collections.
The 1000 square metres of the Mori Arts Centre will be transformed into a dreamlike journey.
The exhibition is built around four themes: The Spirit of Nature, The Spirit of Elegance, The Spirit of Adventure, and Incarnations.
Meditating Buddha clip – 1927
The jewellery house has been inspired by Asian cultures, particularly in Japanese art.
In 1906, when Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels opened their first boutique, Japanese prints had already impressed Europe with their new ideas of colour and light, line, composition and perspective.
A number of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations, such as the Jardin japonais clip (1924) or the Paysage japonais minaudière (1930) were inspired by the iconography of this country.
Over the years Asia has continued to inspire Van Cleef & Arpels, giving birth to jewels such as the between-the-finger Lotus ring (2001) and the Envol necklace (2003).
The creative bond between Van Cleef & Arpels and Japan remains strong: in 2004, the jewellery house asked the master of lacquer work, Hakose San, to create a series of Papillon clips in letterwood and lacquer.
In his Wajima workshop, this artist created – in accordance with ancestral tradition using a technique involving 20 stages and over 100 manufacturing procedures — a collection of unique pieces.
Combining the use of gold dust, tiny drops of gold and minute pieces of eggshell, he brought to life an exquisite limited edition of numbered and unique pieces.
The guiding spirit of the exhibition is the Fée Libellule clip (1944), also named the Spirit of Beauty.
This fairy, her body entirely set with round diamonds, her face set with rubies and a rose-cut diamond, was bought by millionairess Barbara Hutton.
A symbol of dreams and fantasy, this precious fairy is an icon of the Van Cleef & Arpels world where, for more than a century, creations defined by poetry, dreams and perfection, have been brought to life.