Artists’ jewelry? The creations in this realm are indeed solely the handiwork of artists, painters or sculptors.
A piece of “artist’s jewelry,” like a painting or a sculpture, is a work of art. Springing from the same creative approach, it possesses the same force, poetry and ability to provoke, sometimes even the same humor. It is only their ultimate purpose that distinguishes one from the other.
The value of a piece of artist’s jewelry cannot be measured in carats. It is not judged by its hallmark, sparkle or transparency. And whatever the period it belongs to, a piece of jewelry created by a painter or sculptor testifies to a renewed approach to art, one that is perhaps more playful yet no less rigorous.
From Picasso to Kapoor, Indiana to Koons, Braque to Lichtenstein, Vasarely to Stella, Arman to Rauschenberg and Cesar to Dali, the collection I have put together over 30 years now, boasts more than 220 pieces, tiny precious works of art that question the meaning and function of jewelry.
These creations are always the result of an encounter, whether with the artists themselves or with other collectors. Both groups have encouraged me. They have given me no small amount of support in my discovery of this new world where art, seemingly at play, surpasses itself.
By exhibiting these works, first in Roubaix, then in New York, Athens, Valencia, Miami, Seoul, Venice, Riga, Paris and, in the future, in many other cities around the world, I hope to create the right conditions for further encounters and further wonders. 2021 will see exhibitions at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and at the Cercle Cité in Luxembourg…
Born in Paris, Diane Venet was steeped in the art world from an early age. Her family were avid collectors, and her father Jacques Segard was for several years the President of the Friends of the Musée national d’Art Moderne in Paris.
From 1967 to 1976, she worked as a radio and television journalist, and co-hosted the successful weekly culture program Samedi Soir, broadcast on France 2. Married to a French diplomat with whom she lived in Japan and Morocco, and with whom she had two daughters, Esther and Bérénice. Esther de Beaucé founded Galerie miniMasterpiece in Paris. Venet established herself in New York in the 80s with her husband, sculptor Bernar Venet, where she assisted him in organizing exhibitions throughout the world.
A passionate collector of art, as well as jewelry pieces by artists, Venet was also able to solicit the loan – and in some cases, the creation – of pieces from some of the twentieth and early twenty-first century’s most prominent sculptors in order to curate the highly-acclaimed Bijoux Sculptures at Musée La Piscine de Roubaix, in the north of France, in the spring of 2008. The exhibition included 170 pieces by 75 artists, culled by 35 private collections, accompanied by a book, released by Gallimard.
The success in Roubaix led to expanded iterations of the exhibition – thereafter entitled From Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler. A show at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in 2011, accompanied by a book published by Flammation, was followed closely by the Benaki Museum in Athens in 2012, Valencia’s IVAM, Miami’s Bass Museum, the Hangaram Design at the Seoul Art Center, the Palazzo Nani Mocenigo in Venice, the National Museum of Riga (Latvia), and finally the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) in Paris in 2018, on which occasion a larger tome on the subject of artist jewelry was updated and published by Skira Flammarion. In 2021, the exhibition will move to the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and the Cercle Cité in Luxembourg.