Author(s): Elyse Zorn Karlin
A new perspective on woman's role in the world of art jewelry at the turn of the twentieth century--from Art Nouveau in France and the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain, to Jugendstil in Germany and Austria, Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, and American Arts and Crafts in Chicago--and the most extensive survey to date of the sheer diversity and beauty of art jewelry during this period. Accompanying a groundbreaking exhibition at The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, this lavishly illustrated catalog showcases nearly two hundred stunning pieces from the Driehaus Collection and prominent national collections, many of which have never been seen by the public. Women were not only the intended wearers of art jewelry during the early twentieth century, but also an essential part of its creation. Their work--boldly artistic, exquisitely detailed, hand wrought, and inspired by nature--is now widely sought after by collectors and museums alike. From the world's first independent female jewelry makers, to the woman as artistic motif, this jewelry reflected rapid changes in definitions of femininity and social norms. Essays by noted scholars explore five different areas of jewelry design and fabrication, and discuss the important female figures and historic social milieu associated with these movements--from the suffragists and the Rational Dress Society in England; to the Wiener Werkstatte and Gustav Klimt; and the Art Nouveau masters Rene Lalique and Alphonse Mucha, who depicted otherworldly women in jewelry for equally fascinating patrons like Sarah Bernhardt. The essays are illustrated by historic photographs and decorative arts of the period as well as the extraordinary pieces themselves: hair combs, bracelets, brooches, and tiaras executed in moonstones, translucent horn, enamel, opals, aquamarines, and much more. As Driehaus writes in his introduction to "Maker & Muse," "Essential as these elements are, the metal and gemstones of a necklace--or a brooch or a bracelet--are like a canvas. It is the designer who evokes true greatness, beauty, and value from them. Neither monumental nor mass-produced, the object contains a memory of a particular artist's skilled hand."
Elyse Zorn Karlin, curator of "Maker & Muse," is a jewelry historian and co-director of the Association for the Study of Jewelry & Related Arts. She is freelance curator and author of several books on historical jewelry. Emily Banis Stoehrer is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was the co-curator of "Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry for the Silver Screen" (2014) at the MFA. Sharon Darling is a retired curator and museum director with a special interest in Chicago decorative arts. She curated the seminal exhibition "Chicago Silver" and authored the accompanying book, which presented new research on the Chicago Arts and Crafts movement. Jeannine Falino is an independent curator, a museum consultant, and an adjunct curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. She was co-curator of the recent exhibition "Gilded New York: Design, Fashion & Society" (2013) at the Museum of the City of New York. Yvonne Markowitz is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator Emerita at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Among her publications are "American Luxury: Jewels from the House of Tiffany" and "Imperishable Beauty: Art Nouveau Jewelry." Janis Staggs is Associate Curator at Neue Galerie New York. In 2008 she curated "Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry"; the first exhibition on the topic held in the United States, and authored the companion book.