Artist’s jewelry by Man Ray and Jeff Koons in the Sotheby’s sale

‘Sculpture à porter’: the intrigues of artists’ jewelry at Sotheby’s

Jewelery by artists such as Man Ray, Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor and Alexander Calder set to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s East Hampton, in an exhibition-sale

‘Sculpture to Wear’, a partnership between Louisa Guinness, of the Louisa Guinness Gallery in London, and Tiffany Dubin, of Sotheby’s New York, puts jewelry by contemporary artists at the center of a new exhibition and sale at Sotheby’s East Hampton. It includes jewelry from artists like Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor and Alexander Calder.

“I believe that artist jewelry is an introduction to the essence of the artist, just like designs, but jewelry has the added magic of being an art you can wear,” explains Dubin. “This tactile connection reinforces the way an individual has chosen to define their own aesthetic.

Anish Kapoor, Water Pendant, Form I, Large, 2013, polished 22k yellow gold exterior with cold blue enamel interior, edition of five + two AP in collaboration with Louisa Guinness, image by Iona Wolff, courtesy Louisa Guinness Gallery

Bill Copley, Chain for a pregnant woman, designed in 1972, 18k rose gold, edition of nine, courtesy of Louisa Guinness Gallery

The jewelry encompasses sultry curves and playful patterns in pieces that encapsulate the aesthetic of the artist. Jeff Koons draws a platinum bunny and hangs it from a pendant in a playful playboy reference, while Anish Kapoor works with a goldsmith to sink mesmerizing pools in pink and blue enamel. Claude Lalanne’s galvanized copper apples add elegance to the earlobes; Alexander Calder’s brooch is a sculptural brass scribble; Gavin Turk’s discarded apple cores get new life when coated with gold or silver. Man Ray’s piece, complete with detachable pendant, is inspired by his 1936 painting, Lovers – featuring an intimate scene of a kiss of golden lips on the neck, it is ironically offset by the characteristic surreal touch of a hole, through which the wearer can look to modify their vision.

“Artist’s jewelry is small art treasures that reflect not only the era in which they were made, but also the artist’s position on the art scene within a network of institutions – museums , galleries, foundations, art collections and schools, ”adds Dubin. “All of this adds to the pleasure of collecting works of sculpture that can be worn, carrying in the intrinsic characteristics of the design and the artist’s vision.

For Guinness, the artists’ lack of formal jewelry training brings a welcome and instinctive rawness: “Painters and sculptors are not jewelers and they don’t spend most of their time making or designing jewelry,” says -it. “This is important because they are not trained in the field and approach jewelry from a conceptual point of view. Artists are freed from the technical constraints of a goldsmith and therefore are not forced to come up with designs that might escape a classic jeweler. They do things that are harder to wear and interesting to see – they bring a new perspective. ‘ §

Jeff Koons, Rabbit Necklace, 2005-2009, platinum, edition of 50 + five AP, photographed by Richard Valencia, courtesy of Louisa Guinness Gallery

Man Ray, Les Amoureux, creation of 1975, 18 carat gold on torque with pin on the reverse, edition of 12 executed by GEM – Montebello, image courtesy of Louisa Guinness Gallery

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About Margaret L. Portillo

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