ART hound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

The remarkable jewels of Bulgari are the de Young starting this weekend—lecture by noted jewelry historian Amanda Triossi this Friday evening

On a break from shooting “Cleopatra,” Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton strolled along Rome’s via dei Condotti to Bulgari.  "Richard was so romantic that he'd use any excuse to give me a piece of jewelry," Taylor wrote. "He'd give me 'It's a beautiful day' presents or 'Let's go for a walk' presents. Over the years I've come to think of these as my 'It's Tuesday, I love you' jewelry."  When they married for the first time— his second, her fifth—he gave her this necklace whose 16 Colombian emeralds weigh in at 60.5 carats.  Bulgari bought the necklace back at the Christies auction in 2011 for $6,130,500.   Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage

On a break from shooting “Cleopatra,” Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton strolled along Rome’s via dei Condotti to Bulgari. “Richard was so romantic that he’d use any excuse to give me a piece of jewelry,” Taylor wrote. “He’d give me ‘It’s a beautiful day’ presents or ‘Let’s go for a walk’ presents. Over the years I’ve come to think of these as my ‘It’s Tuesday, I love you’ jewelry.” When they married for the first time— his second, her fifth—he gave her this necklace whose 16 Colombian emeralds weigh in at 60.5 carats. Bulgari bought the necklace back at the Christies auction in 2011 for $6,130,500. Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage

While the renowned jeweler Bulgari is always associated with Italy, Rome in particular, the Bulgari family actually hails from the small Greek village of Kallarrytes in the Pindhos mountains of Epirus, not far from Albania, noted for its silver carvers.  The talented and ambitious silver chaser, Sotirios Bulgari, arrived in Italy in 1881 with roughly 80 cents but, with hard work and ingenuity, soon had a flourishing business.  The very first Bulgari shops, which opened in Rome in the 1880’s, carried fine jewelry and items of personal adornment including necklaces, rings and ornate silver buckles and objects.  It wasn’t until the decades following World War II that the house developed what would come to be known as the “Italian school” of jewelry design, reinterpreting forms derived from Greco-Roman classicism and the Italian Renaissance.  Bulgari became famous for mixing semiprecious stones with diamonds, mounting ancient coins in gold jewelry, and creating easy-to-wear pieces made with unusual color combinations.

The influences and glorious history of the house are presented in The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950-1990, at San Francisco’s de Young Museum opening this Saturday, September 21. The 150 pieces on view will be a revelation to both jewelry and design lovers.  The exhibition takes a decade-by-decade look at Bulgari’s innovations in jewelry design. It includes several pieces from their Elizabeth Taylor collection, heavy on emeralds and diamonds of astounding size and quality, that were reacquired at the famous 2011 Christie’s auction.  One piece, an emerald-and-diamond brooch that also can be worn as a pendant, sold for $6,578,500 — breaking records both for sales price of an emerald and for emerald price per carat ($280,000).

Guest Lecture Friday September 18, 7:15 PM: Amanda Triossi, Jewelry Historian, Author, and curator of the Bulgari Heritage Collection will give a talk and multimedia presentation about Bulgari’s rich legacy.

Triossi knows Bulgari like no one else.  Along with co-author Daniela Mascetti, she wrote the first ever book on the jeweler in 1996—Bulgari (Abbeville, 1996)—and also co-authored the revised version, Bvgari (Abbeville, 2007). I have been pouring over this book for days now—a luscious big art book with hundreds of dazzling pictures and sketches which tells the story of the famous family and traces the progression of the distinctive Bulgari style as well as the distinct architecture of the Bulgari shops all over the world.  She’s also co-authored, with FAMSF curator Martin Chapman, the exhibition catalog, The Art Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 1950-1990 just out for the de Young show.

(Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum, Tickets $3, free for members Reservations required.  Click here to make a reservation and purchase tickets.) The auditorium will open at 6:30 pm to ticket holders only.  Does not include museum admission or entry to the special exhibition The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990. Access to special exhibitions and the permanent collection requires additional fees and tickets.

“Tubogas” choker, 1974, two-color gold with Greek silver coins, 27.5 x 7 cm, Bulgari Heritage Collection, inv. 404 N607. © Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte

“Tubogas” choker, 1974, two-color gold with Greek silver coins, 27.5 x 7 cm,
Bulgari Heritage Collection, inv. 404 N607. © Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte

Details: The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990, opens to the public on Saturday, September 21 at the de Young Museum and closes February 17, 2013.  The exhibition opens to members on Friday, September 20, 2013.  The de Young Museum Adults $20–$22, seniors 65+ $17–$19, students with current ID $16–$18, youths 6–17 $10–$12, members and children 5 and under free. Prices subject to change without notice.is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Tickets: Admission: $20-$22 adults; $17-$19 seniors; $16-$18 college students with ID; $10-$12 youths 6–17. (These prices include general admission.) Members and children 5 and under are free. General admission is free the first Tuesday of every month.  Tickets can be purchased on site and on the de Young’s website: deyoungmuseum.org. Tickets purchased online include a $1 handling charge.

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September 17, 2013 - Posted by | Art, de Young Museum | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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