« Gracieus »: Belgian Art Nouveau honoured

19th of May 2016

Some fifty Art Nouveau objects, including masterpieces from our own collection, will be exhibited in the Umicore Silver Pavilion and the Diamond Pavilion as part of the Gracieus exhibition. The exhibition is the fruit of collaboration between DIVA (Antwerp Home of Diamonds), the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels and the King Baudouin Foundation.

Three emblematic works by Philippe Wolfers (1859–1929), a leading figure in the creation of Art Nouveau silverwork and jewellery, are included in the exhibition: the famous letter rack in silver and ivory offered to Edmond van Eetvelde in recognition of his role at the 1897 Colonial Exhibition; a magnificent decorative hair comb, encrusted with opals and cornelians, and an exceptional bracelet, decorated with bats and poppies.

Like Philippe Wolfers, the sculptor Égide Rombaux (1865–1942) was one of the rare artists who succeeded in using ivory as an artistic material, as seen in this lamp, which features the figure of a nymph, mounted on a silver setting created by François Hoosemans (1857–1941).

The gold ring created by Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) is another particularly graceful and sophisticated example of Art Nouveau, a movement in which Belgium was a pioneer. In addition to the beautiful sweep of the ring’s curves, the quality of workmanship in the materials used is outstanding: no fewer than three types of gold were used, creating, together with the pearls and diamonds, a wonderfully subtle mix of colours. This is the only ring that has been attributed with certitude to this versatile artist.

The last two works, a snuff box bearing a portrait of King Léopold II and a ‘demi-parure’ comprising a brooch and earrings, by Arthur Dufour, are exhibited in the section ‘Royal jewellery and accessories at the beginning of Art Nouveau’.
All of these works are on public show in the two MAS pavilions from 25 May 2016 to 15 January 2017.

Practical information:
Hanzestedenplaats 23, 2000 Antwerp
from 25 May 2016 to 15 January 2017, closed on Monday
free exhibition