Synopses & Reviews
Masterpieces of French Jewelry is a delightful testament to the power of jewelry-like all true art-to mirror changes in Americas evolving social milieu. It offers an enchanting lens through which to view Americas rise from frontier nation to an industrial superpower, with a new moneyed class hungry for recognition and status. French jewelry provided that and more. This sumptuously-designed full color book-the first and only one on this subject-features over 80 photographs of the most remarkable pieces that found their way into prominent American collections. It also showcases a brilliant array of styles. There are chapters devoted to jewelry characteristic of the Art Nouveau period, along with Art Deco, the Victorian Era, 1940s retro, and the 1960s through more contemporary styles. An added bonus: one-of-a-kind jewelry creations from notable artists such as Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Matta, and Arman. The publication of Masterpieces of French Jewelry coincides with the National Jewelry Institutes exhibition, "Masterpieces of French Jewelry from Twentieth-Century American Collections," which will begin at The Forbes Galleries in New York in September 2006.
"Price's whirlwind tour of French jewelry since the late 19th century coincides with an exhibit that opens in New York in September and moves to San Francisco in February 2007). But the book, peppered with vapid commentary from high-profile collectors, acts not so much as a useful guide to French jewelry but as a record of who has spent fortunes on gorgeous (and sometime tacky) gems. Still, Price, president of the nonprofit National Jewelry Institute, does exhibit a wealth of knowledge on the development of French jewelry. From the dawn of art nouveau (which she describes repeatedly as 'sensual') to pieces that are clumped together as 'Contemporary,' the information is presented too quickly for the reader to absorb. The impact on art deco of the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb, for example, is entirely lost when a paragraph later Price has moved on to influences from Indian, Latin American and Chinese design. Sometimes insubstantial captions fail to explain much more than the materials used in a given piece, and the quality of the images varies; while most are crystal clear, some appear somewhat grainy. Overall, though, for its price, the book provides a primer on a sufficiently wide selection of French jewelry. (Sept. 22)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Remarkable pieces of French jewelry that mirror America's transformation from frontier nation to industrial power