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Van Cleef & Arpels to exhibit jewels at the Design Museum

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Culture |Jewellery

Image: Van Cleef & Arpels

Fine jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels has announced that it will showcase a free exhibition at the Design Museum in London opening in September.

‘The Art of Movement’ exhibition will run from September 23 to October 20 and will feature almost a hundred creations from its patrimonial collection, alongside archive documents and private collector's creations to illustrate how the jewellery house imparts movement into precious materials.

The exhibition will take visitors into a “dreamlike world of movement and harmony,” divided into four themes, Nature Alive, Dance, Elegance and Abstract Movements. Each section will highlight a facet of motion explored by Van Cleef & Arpels since its foundation in 1906.

Image: Van Cleef & Arpels

Nature Alive will explore Van Cleef & Arpels' use of flora and fauna to fairies and butterflies that have inspired its creations. Designs will include its flower blossom brooches from the late 1930s and early 1940s, with their blue and yellow sapphire corollas, and the Leaf secret watch, launched in 1929, where the dial is hidden behind three sapphire-set leaves.

Design Museum to host free jewellery exhibition from Van Cleef & Arpels

Image: Van Cleef & Arpels

Dance will take visitors on a journey through the jewellery brand’s bond with the ballet, dating back to the 1920s, and how it has inspired jewellery capturing the motion of the ballerina, with sculpted dancers and their tutus embellished in diamonds and jewels. Highlights include one Van Cleef & Arpels' first pieces inspired by the world of dance, a clip from 1941 featuring a dancer with a pear-shaped diamond face, crowned by a ruby and emerald hair ornament, with a diamond tutu.

Elegance will showcase its inspiration from the world of couture, both in the pursuit of realism and its desire to accompany elegant women over the decades, from depicting bows and ribbons to the use of fluid fabrics. Jewels on display will include the Zip necklace, one of its most avant-garde creations, which can transform into a bracelet simply by sliding its tassel, as one would a real zipper.

Image: Van Cleef & Arpels

The final section, Abstract Movements will highlight how the jewellery brand plays with shapes and movement to showcase its creativity. From the geometrically decorated boxes of the 1920s to the pure, rounded lines inspired by Modernism and the kinetic magic of the hippie era – these jewels will showcase some of Van Cleef & Arpels' abstract yet fun work.

To display its rare creations, Van Cleef & Arpels will welcome visitors with a floating matte ribbon in the shape of a flower, which will unfold throughout the exhibition as a guide, inspired by its Silhouette Flower clip from the 1930s. While the exhibition itself will be inspired by the world of couture, explains Van Cleef & Arpels, with each showcase entirely made of pleated fabric and assembled on a vertical floor-to-ceiling support, with the jewellery displayed like abstract paintings.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ free ‘The Art of Movement’ exhibition will open on September 23.

Image: Van Cleef & Arpels
Image: Van Cleef & Arpels
Design Museum
Van Cleef & Arpels