The Cooper Hewitt in New York has organised the first major exhibition devoted to Art Deco from an American perspective, with fabulous of-the-era jewels.
Sunday - Friday 10am- 6pm
Adults $18, seniors $12, students $9, children under 18 free. Tickets can be bought in advance with a $2 discount.
The first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste during the creative explosion of the 1920s, The Jazz Age opened this spring at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.
The exhibition showcases the pervasive influence of European Art Deco style on jewellery, fashion, furniture, textiles and tableware, all the way through to architecture and even household appliances.
“Exploring the significant impact of European influences, the explosive growth of American cities, avant-garde artistic movements, new social mores and the role of technology, The Jazz Age will seek to define the American spirit of the period,” said Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann.
A brilliant period for art and design, the 1920s saw talent and craftsmanship, urbanity and experimentation flow back and forth across the Atlantic. Significant influences from abroad include the Paris 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes; newly transplanted European designers, primarily from Austria and Germany; and fashion and jewellery acquired overseas. To these influences were added American architecture, most notably the skyscraper, which greatly impressed Americans and Europeans alike.
Organised around six themes – Persistence of Traditional Good Taste, A New Look, Bending the Rules, A Smaller World, Abstraction and Reinvention, and Toward a Machine Age – this comprehensive exhibition explores the significant impact of European influences coupled with the explosive growth of American cities.
Highlights of the jewellery on show are two Cartier pieces owned by Linda Porter, wife of American composer Cole Porter, including a colourful Tutti Frutti bracelet and a 1926 belt buckle featuring a scarab motif inspired by the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb; a 1921 Cartier Mystery clock owned by Anna Dodge; a striking 1929 Van Cleef & Arpels necklace with carved rubies and diamonds; a 1925 Egyptian bracelet produced by Lacloche Frères; a geometric Boucheron bracelet shown at the 1925 Paris exposition; a Tiffany & Co. necklace with a skyscraper motif; a rabbit serving champagne brooch by Raymond Yard; two Boucheron bow-form brooches; and a stunning diamond bracelet owned by the actress Mae West.
Neil Lane, the famous American jewellery designer best known for his red-carpet jewellery, is also showcasing his personal collection of Art Deco jewellery, which includes some of the finest designs from the houses of Cartier, Boucheron, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as antique and estate jewels.
More than 400 works drawn from public and private collections are showcased along with multimedia exhibits, including film clips and jazz, America’s groundbreaking contribution to music, which captured the pulse of modern ideas against the rules and conventions of the traditional social order.
Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Housed in the splendid Carnegie Mansion, Cooper Hewitt showcases one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. The Jazz Age is a joint collaboration between Cooper Hewitt and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Linda Porter’s colourful Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet and her 1926 belt buckle featuring a scarab motif inspired by the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb; a fascinating geometric bracelet by Boucheron from Neil Lane’s private collection and a gold brooch signed J. Fouquet that encapsulates the design spirit of the age to perfection.