I invited Vanessa Pinoncely, creator of the Dear Charlotte brand at The School of Jewelry Arts, to the course devoted to Art Nouveau. Her reactions.
By Sandrine Merle.
One of the courses in the “Back To School” program is dedicated to Art Nouveau. In it, the art historian Gislain Aucremanne goes far beyond the esthetics of this artistic movement, examining its roots along withits political, cultural and socio-economic context. He underlines the crucial role played by jewelers alongside other artists: painters, sculptors, architects, etc. A fascinating two hours.
Sandrine Merle. What did you know about Art Nouveau before attending this course?
Vanessa Pinoncely. For me, Art Nouveau was associated solely with René Lalique. I still remember the beautiful exhibition devoted to him at the Musée du Luxembourg in 2007. I was unaware of the existence of other jewelers like Henri Vever or Fouquet who collaborated with the artist Mucha in particular. Of course I was also aware of the naturalist inspiration, the undulating plants and those strange almost disturbing animals. I was very curious to find out more…
S.-M. And yet you shared with me, before the class, that you were not very in tune with this abundant esthetic!
Vanessa Pinoncely. It’s true that the lexicon composed of women with long hair mixed up with butterflies or Japanese patterns is a long way from my own vocabulary. Except for a few elements such as the Pope’s coin, the wasp or the peacock’s feather, you’ll find none of my pet leitmotivs there: lace, Renaissance, cabochons, the sun, Greco-Roman influence or the antique coins that I love. But I loved discovering the movement’s raison d’être, along with its social, political and cultural environment.
S.-M. You loved the refinement of that time…
Vanessa Pinoncely. With his talent as a storyteller tinged with humor, it’s true that Gislain Aucremanne whirled me right back to that era: the buzz of the Rue de la Paix with its concentration of jewelers and couturiers, these corseted women in sublime Worth dresses, the appearance of the first posters… How I would have loved to experience the Belle Epoque at first hand! I also learned that the very brief Art Nouveau movement, barely 20 years old, was not only French: it spread to Barcelona, Prague and Glasgow. I’ll make sure to take that into account during my next trips.
S.-M. Will this course act as a source of inspiration for a new Dear Charlotte collection?
Vanessa Pinoncely. For reasons of wearability, feasibility and cost, this style remains difficult to transpose. Having said that, I’m going to explore naturalism… It especially made me want to learn more about the history of jewelry! I’ve already signed up for the course dedicated to lacquer with a Japanese master, plus those on stones and the on exceptional diamonds. I know the names of the latter but I’d also like to discover where they came from, who they belonged to and their many adventures. That’s a beautiful program ahead for the fall!
Banner image: Vanessa Pinoncely, founder and designer of Dear Charlotte / “Noeud de serpents” brooch by René Lalique – 1899 © Gulbenkian foundation, Lisboa