A unique Philippe Wolfers bracelet

21st of May 2015

The purchase of the bracelet known as Chauve-Souris et Pavots (Bats and Poppies) by the Braet-Buys-Bartholomeus Fund represents the acquisition of a remarkable piece of Belgian heritage. The exceptional quality of the piece lies in its artistic quality; by the fact that only very few pieces of jewellery created by Wolfers are still around and, perhaps even more, by the fact that the preparatory drawing of the bracelet still exists.

Information given on this drawing indicates that the bracelet was created on 28 November, 1898. The reverse surface of the bracelet bears the monogram PW and mentions that the work is a unique example (‘Ex.unique’).

It is thanks to his unique jewellery creations, such as this bracelet that Philippe Wolfers is considered as one of Belgium’s greatest art nouveau designers. These unique works, sold at exorbitant prices, served mainly to promote much more affordable pieces of jewellery made by the Wolfers Frères company, of which Philippe Wolfers was artistic director. It was often the case that, after being shown at various exhibitions, these ‘unique’ pieces were usually taken apart, which explains why there are practically none in existence today. Throughout his career, Philippe Wolfers only created two bracelets and what became of the other one remains unclear.

This beautiful bracelet has been worked rather like a miniature sculpture. As always with Wolfers designs, the symbolism of the jewellery is very apparent: the bats, which are harmoniously positioned one behind the other, refer to the night, whilst the poppies, from which opium is extracted, symbolise sleep.

The bracelet has been entrusted to the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.