Under the title “Bijoux d’Artistes, De Picasso à Koons”, the famed Parisian art collector is currently exhibiting some 180 of her finest pieces at the Grimaldi Forum
This summer of 2021, the Grimaldi Forum is more than making up for its 2020 jubilee year lost to the pandemic. Alongside the spectacular Giacometti retrospective and the two Monte Carlo ballet shows, Diane Venet’s exhibition of modern and contemporary artist’s jewelry is doubtlessly the third highlight of this summer season.
Passionate about art, Diane Venet acquired her first artist’s jewel, a brooch by the painter Roy Lichtenstein, in New York in 1967. But it was her meeting with the sculptor (and her future husband) Bernar Venet in 1985 that inspired her to create a collection dedicated to jewelry created by an artist.
Today, the collection which has taken 30 years to build and contains more than 230 pieces, is a world reference. It includes works by Picasso, Fontana, Man Ray, Kapoor, Indiana, Koons, Braque, Lichtenstein, Saint Phalle, Haring, Bourgeois, Orlan, Sugimoto, Vasarely, Stella, Arman, Rauschenberg, César, Dalí, Giacometti, and many more… With the support of other collectors, Diane Venet’s collection shows several aesthetics and opens up to artists of all generations, representing the international scene. The infinite meets the monumental, all major movements from surrealist to abstract art, pop art, new realists, kinetic art, and minimal and conceptual art are represented. The artifacts on display are complemented by sculptures, drawings, photographs and filmed interviews.
Goldsmiths who made the practice of artist’s jewelry possible by approaching the great names of the art world in the 1950s are also being honoured, among them François Hugo and Gian Carlo Montebello, who died last year and to whom Diane Venet wishes to pay a special tribute.
The exhibition is further enhanced by exceptional pieces that are shown for the first time or were specifically created for Diane Venet, such as a necklace by the American artist Larry Bell. Other new pieces include a ring by Rashid Johnson (2020), and one-off pieces, a necklace by Faust Cardinali (2019-2020), the Thyas bracelet by Sophia Vari (2020) and a silver brooch created in 1994 by artist Joana Vasconcelos, named Raiz (Racine) and being the emblem of her Foundation.
Diane Venet’s jewelry collection is an integral part of her daily life; she has never stopped wearing the pieces. But exhibiting them and sharing her passion are equally important to her. The exhibition is both an intimate look into a woman’s world, and, inspired by her love of an artist and the love of art, this collection is a tribute to creation.
“An artist’s jewel, like a painting or a sculpture, is a work of art. Born of the same creative approach, it has the same strength, the same poetry and capacity to provoke, and sometimes the same humour. It is only their ultimate purpose that differentiates one from the other, and many modern and contemporary artists have taken a close interest in jewelry. It belongs neither to the world of high-end jewelry nor to that of costume jewelry. Nor is it associated with the independent creators of contemporary jewelry who consider the object as a field of expression in its own right. A gesture of affection, the artist’s jewel, often designed for a loved one, is the work of painters or sculptors for whom this practice remains unusual.”
— Diane Venet
All photos courtesy Grimaldi Forum Monaco and as credited below