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While jewelry is a luxury, it is also art on many levels. This is all the more true when one takes a closer look at the trajectory of some of the world’s greatest artists. All of them, from Jean Cocteau to Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst or André Derain, have extended their artistic practice to the realization of real “wearable sculptures”, at some point in their careers. But what’s the common denominator of this adventure? The gallery owner Pierre-Alain Challier, a specialist in artists’ jewelry, who invited Nicolas Hugo, a descendant of the giant of French literature and the third generation of goldsmiths now at the head of the Ateliers Hugo. The story of ‘Les Bijoux d’Artistes’ began after World War II, when Nicolas’ grandfather François Hugo was making pieces for the now legendary Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. A meeting with Douglas Cooper was decisive and marked the beginning of the series of silver dishes and gold ‘Bijoux d’Artistes’ by Picasso. From 1975, his son Pierre Hugo extended the ‘Bijoux d’Artistes’ to César, Arman, Corneille or Ugo Rondinone until the most recent collaboration with Josh Sperling on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the family workshop in 2020. An exhibition at the Pierre-Alain Challier gallery, featuring 30 masterpieces and as many period documents (Cocteau’s letters, Picasso’s drawings…), offers to rediscover the almost mythical and yet decisive work of these legends. With this exceptional exhibition, Pierre and Nicolas Hugo have responded to the invitation of the Pierre-Alain Challier for its unique position dedicated to the ‘wearable sculptures’ of painters and sculptors. The exhibition is accompanied by a striking series of portraits by the young designer Sacha Floch Poliakoff. ‘Bijoux d’Artistes, from Max Ernst to Pablo Picasso’ is on view until January 15 at 8, rue Debelleyme in Paris.

Photos : Ayka Lux

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