Design for a Hair Pin (?) with a Female Figure on a Bundle of Flowers and Leaves

Anonymous, French, 19th century French

Not on view

Drawing with a design for a hair pin (?), designed around 1900, part of an album of drawings by various artists for individual pieces of jewelry, containing a variety of designs in the Art Nouveau style of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as well as some pieces in historic period styles. The hair pin in the drawing consists of the upper part of a female figure, standing with her back to the viewer, her hands pulling her long hair up, and her head turning towards the viewer, which emerges from a bundle of scrolling green, thin, elongated leaves and small rosettes, executed with blue or purple, that holds two light brown teeth that form the body of the hairpin. A shell-like frame is sketched with pencil around the female figure. Some traces of pencil can be seen under the drawing: a vertical line crossing the center of the design might have been used as a guideline. There are other traces toward the edges of the paper. This design reveals the aesthetic of late Art Nouveau jewelry style, designed, among others, by Rene Lalique, which drew inspiration from antiquity and japonism, abandoning the exclusive use traditional precious stones in the manufacture of jewels, and using, instead, a combination of gold, gemstones, semi-precious stones, mother-of-pearl, ivory and horn, enamel, and glass, to create colorful, powerful, and sinuous designs, often presenting animal and other figurative motifs.

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