This remarkable pendant marks a high point in the three-year partnership of Fouquet, the renowned French jeweler, and Mucha, the Czech graphic artist whose work has become synonymous with Art Nouveau style. The two men collaborated from 1899 to 1901, during which time Mucha not only conceived a spectacular series of elaborate jewels executed by Fouquet's Paris atelier but also designed a sumptuous new Fouquet showroom in the rue Royale, where the interior decoration specifically harmonized with the jewelry. The pendant reflects an early-twentieth-century shift away from the prevailing taste for precious stones in traditional historicist settings toward a new approach in which unorthodox materials were chosen for their contribution to the overall design in the belief that the beauty of a jewel depended on its artistic conception rather than the intrinsic value of its materials.
Marking: [on reverse stamped into gold armature of woman's head]: G. FOUQUET/ 2159
(sale, Sotheby's, London, October 19, 2000, no. 36, unsold); Eva and Michael Chow, Los Angeles (until 2003; their gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.
Munich. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. "Alphonse Mucha," October 9, 2009–January 24, 2010, no. 122.
Jane Adlin in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2003–2004." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 62 (Fall 2004), p. 31, ill. (color), calls it a brooch.
Olivier Gabet inAlphonse Mucha. Ed. Agnes Husslein-Arco et al. Exh. cat., Belvedere Vienna. Munich, 2009, pp. 36–39 (general discussion of Fouquet and Mucha's collaboration).
Tomoko Sato inAlphonse Mucha. Ed. Agnes Husslein-Arco et al. Exh. cat., Belvedere Vienna. Munich, 2009, pp. 162 (general discussion of Fouquet and Mucha's collaboration), 343, no. 122, ill. p. 189 (color).