Lady’s silver mantle hook and buttons set with garnets made by George Morren

During the 2022 BRAFA art fair, the King Baudouin Foundation acquired a woman’s mantle hook and six buttons in silver, designed by the famous painter George Morren. This unique art nouveau jewellery came from the artist’s estate and was able to be acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation.

Nowadays, George Morren (1868-1941) is mainly known as a Post-Impressionist painter. We had almost forgotten that he also created jewellery during the Art Nouveau period and yet his creations brought him international renown and his work appeared in the most sought-after art magazines of the day.

Jewellery acquired by the Christian Bauwens Fund from Thomas Deprez Fine Arts is characteristic of the Belgian Art Nouveau style. This mantle hook, in the shape of a cyclamen, dates from 1894 and was exhibited the following year during famous exhibitions such as La Libre Esthétique in Brussels and Le Salon d’art nouveau organised by Siegfried Bing in Paris. The lady’s silver buttons are set with garnets and were exhibited at the Salon de La Libre Esthétique in 1900.

To make his jewellery, George Morren called upon the services of the Brussels jeweller Joseph Coosemans (1828-1904). The harmony between the conception of the jewellery and its technical realisation bears admirable witness to this collaboration.

The 1890s were marked by a renaissance in the decorative arts. Numerous artists experimented in the creation of small pieces of jewellery and ornamental objects, known as « bijoux d’artiste » (art jewellery). It is common knowledge that the painters Theo Van Rysselberghe and George Lemmen created pieces of jewellery and yet none has been attributed to them to date. The only known examples are the pieces of jewellery created by Henry van de Velde and Philippe Wolfers.

The King Baudouin Foundation has entrusted this George Morren jewellery to the Art and History Museum in Brussels, where it will be presented in the display cabinets of the recreated Wolfers boutique.

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