Dıve ınto a dreamlıke world of movement and harmony wıth “The Art of Movement: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lıvıng Moments, Eternal Forms” exhıbıtıon 

From  October 1st  to  30,  2022,  the  Maison  will  be  presenting its exhibition  “The Art of Movement, Van Cleef & Arpels, living moments, eternal forms” at MC House in Chengdu, China.

Featuring more than 120 creations from its patrimonial collection and numerous archive documents, this selection illustrates the Maison’s constant quest to impart movement into precious materials. Like a panorama of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creativity, the exhibition displays emblematic  pieces,  new  acquisitions  as  well  as  creations  reflecting  lifestyle evolutions over the decades.

The visitor’s journey is divided into  four  themes:  Human  Odyssey,  Nature  Alive,  Elegance  and  Abstract Movements. Each highlights a facet of movement explored by the Maison since its foundation in 1906. 

The adventurous spirit of the early modern period – followed by the industrial era  of  the  19th  century  –  gave  rise  to  ever  more  sophisticated  machines  for  exploring the world. Since its foundation in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has used its creations to accompany that bold human odyssey of wanderlust. This  idea  of  movement  expanded  to  include  depictions  of  the  human  body  in  motion:  the  rhythm  of  its  positions,  the  beauty  of  its  curves,  its  surging  leaps.  Twirling  in  tutus  of  precious  stones  or  golden  sequins,  ballerinas  have  enlivened the Maison’s universe since 1941. Dance remains an endless source of inspiration to this day.

Whether figurative or stylized, the Maison’s flora and fauna-inspired creations bear witness to its taste for living nature. Birds with delicate plumage, dreamlike fairies  and  butterflies  with  outspread  wings  flit  across  the  sky,  filling  the  air  with poetry. Floating  on  a  precious  breeze,  diamond  feathers  alight  on  shoulders,  Mystery  Set  flowers  blossom  on  jacket  lapels,  or  prepare  to  bloom  on  day  or  evening  dresses.  The  bouquets  of  the  late  1930s  and  early  1940s,  with  their  blue  and  yellow sapphire corollas, seem freshly picked. Like snapshots, the animals that adorn clips, necklaces and bracelets appear to have been frozen in mid-action. 

Ever since its foundation in 1906 in Paris’ Place Vendôme, Van Cleef & Arpels has  drawn  inspiration  from  the  world  of  couture,  like  a  homage  to  its  place  of  birth.  One  of  the  specificities  of  these  jewels  is  the  ability  to  transform  to  match different outfits. The central element of a ribbon-shaped necklace can be removed and worn as a brooch, while double clips separate to adorn each side of the neckline. Motifs inspired by passementerie gave rise to pieces that echo the movements of  the  body.  Depicting  bows  and  ribbons,  they  also  illustrate  the  renascent  femininity  of  the  post-war  period.  Supreme  examples  of  flexibility,  jewels  imitating serge fabric or rope mold themselves perfectly to women’s silhouettes. 

Attentive  to  artistic  movements  throughout  the  20th  century,  the  Maison  interpreted them in an original way, playing with shapes and materials. From  the  geometrically-decorated  boxes  of  the  1920s  to  the  pure,  rounded  lines   inspired   by   Modernism   and   the   kinetic   magic   of   the   hippie   era,   Van  Cleef  &  Arpels  has  always  played  with  the  beholder’s  gaze.  Abstract  yet  fun,  some  works  from  the  1960s  onwards  recall  Op  Art,  drawing  us  into  an  interplay of illusions. The movement of the stars, lightning bolts illuminating the night sky and the dance of meteorites round out this selection, in a final burst of creativity. 

To display this rare set of creations, the scenography echoes the theme of movement. Welcoming visitors at the entrance, a floating matte ribbon takes the shape of an ethereal flower. Unfolding to guide visitors on their journey throughout the four themes of the exhibition, this anamorphosis is inspired by the Silhouette Flower clip, an emblematic design imagined by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s.