Maker: Georges Fouquet (French, 1862–1957)
Designer: Alphonse Mucha (Czech, Ivančice 1860–1939 Prague)
Date: ca. 1900
Medium: Gold, enamel, mother-of-pearl, opal, emerald, colored stones, gold paint
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/2 in. (16.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Eva and Michael Chow, 2003
Accession Number: 2003.560
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.