Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry features more than two hundred and fifty pieces of jewelry created in the early decades of the twentieth century. During this vibrant period, jewelry makers in the world’s centers of design created audacious new styles in response to the growing industrialization of the world and the changing role of women in society. Their “alternative” designs—boldly artistic, exquisitely detailed, handwrought, and inspired by nature—became known as art jewelry.
Maker & Muse explores five different areas of art jewelry design and fabrication: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, Art Nouveau in France, Jugendstil in Germany and Austria, Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, and American Arts and Crafts in Chicago.
Work created by both men and women are exhibited together to highlight commonalities while illustrating each maker’s distinctive style. And in regions or movements that saw few women present in the workshop, the female remained unquestionably present in the mind of the designer. Not only did art jewelers intend to highlight the fashionable clothing and natural beauty of a woman during this period, they also often represented her within the work itself.
While inspired by the broader art movements of the day and their unique cultures and contexts, designers strove together to create adventurous pieces of jewelry with dramatic forms, intricate craftsmanship, saturated colors, and semiprecious stones. Drawn from the collection of Richard H. Driehaus and prominent national public and private collections, this exhibition upholds the same ideal of beauty as did its talented makers.
Images from left to right:
Frederick James Partridge (English, 1877-1942) for Liberty & Co. (English, established 1875), Tiara with Corn Design, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus. Photograph by John A. Faier, 2014, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.
René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), Winged Sylph Brooch, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photograph by John A. Faier, 2014, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.
Mrs. Philip (Charlotte) Newman (English, 1840-1927), Aquamarine Necklace in original box, c. 1890. Collection of Tereza M. M. Driehaus. Photograph by John A. Faier, 2014, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.