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Accompanying a groundbreaking exhibition at The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, this lavishly illustrated catalog showcases nearly two hundred stunning pieces from the Driehaus Collection and prominent national collections, many of which have never been seen by the public.
Women were not only the intended wearers of art jewelry during the early twentieth century, but also an essential part of its creation. Their work—boldly artistic, exquisitely detailed, hand wrought, and inspired by nature—is now widely sought after by collectors and museums alike. From the world’s first independent female jewelry makers, to the woman as artistic motif, this jewelry reflected rapid changes in definitions of femininity and social norms.
Essays by noted scholars explore five different areas of jewelry design and fabrication, and discuss the important female figures and historic social milieu associated with these movements—from the suffragists and the Rational Dress Society in England; to the Wiener Werkstätte and Gustav Klimt; and the Art Nouveau masters René Lalique and Alphonse Mucha, who depicted otherworldly women in jewelry for equally fascinating patrons like Sarah Bernhardt.
The essays are illustrated by historic photographs and decorative arts of the period as well as the extraordinary pieces themselves: hair combs, bracelets, brooches, and tiaras executed in moonstones, translucent horn, enamel, opals, aquamarines, and much more. As Driehaus writes in his introduction to Maker & Muse, “Essential as these elements are, the metal and gemstones of a necklace—or a brooch or a bracelet—are like a canvas. It is the designer who evokes true greatness, beauty, and value from them. Neither monumental nor mass-produced, the object contains a memory of a particular artist’s skilled hand.”
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