Mastery of Van Cleef & Arpels and Japanese Crafts Meet in Kyoto
Hot on the heels of a major exhibition in Singapore at the ArtScience Museum, which put the spotlight on the raw material used to create haute joaillerie, Van Cleef & Arpels is opening a new exhibition this weekend in Kyoto, Japan: Mastery of an Art: Van Cleef & Arpels — High Jewelry and Japanese Crafts.
“This exhibition will be focusing on explaining the different crafts and techniques we are using and those that have been used in Japan,” says Nicolas Luchsinger, Director of the Heritage Collection at Van Cleef & Arpels.
In the first section, the exhibition will retrace the history of the French jeweler from its founding in 1906 on the Place Vendome, Paris, presenting about 80 pieces that demonstrate the design creativity, as well as technical innovations, from the patented “Mystery Setting” that hides any metal supports by having the stone set on tiny rails to the Zip necklace that transform into an elegant bracelet.
In the second section, Van Cleef & Arpels will present about 100 pieces that highlight the craftsmanship involved in haute joaillerie. Parallels will be drawn with the high level of craftsmanship used in traditional Japanese crafts, such as cloisonné enamel, lacquer ware with maki-e lacquer (which uses precious metal dust sprinkled on lacquer), ceramics, metalwork and gold brocade used in junihitoe (twelve-layered ceremonial kimono)
Another part of the exhibition will present examples of contemporary Japanese craftsmanship including work by Moriguchi Kunihiko (yuzen dyeing); Kitamura Takeshi (ra and tatenishiki weaving), Nakagawa Kiyotsugu (woodcrafts), the lacquer artisan Hattori Shunsho and the ceramic artist Miwa Kyusetsu XII. There will also be a special display of collaborative works, integrating elements of both high jewelry and Japanese crafts.
Luchsinger was at Van Cleef & Arpels’ boutique at ION on Orchard, Singapore where clients can now buy pieces from the brand’s heritage collection — vintage pieces that Van Cleef & Arpels has bought back from clients and is now reselling. Previously, the heritage collection was only offered in New York, Paris, London and Hong Kong, but Luchsinger says demand in Southeast Asia for vintage pieces, especially with animal representations, is very strong. He also noted there has recently been rising interest in pieces from the 1970s that are particularly colorful.
Mastery of an Art: Van Cleef & Arpels — High Jewelry and Japanese Crafts will run at the National Museum of Modern Art, April 29‑August 6, 2017.