London – Christie’s second edition of Art as Jewellery, an online-only sale that is dedicated to wearable artworks by artists of the 20th and 21st Centuries, is open for bidding from 9 to 16 November, running concurrently with Christie’s 20th Century week in New York. Throughout the last 100 years, artists have often created jewellery as an extension of their practice, viewing them as miniature sculptures that could be worn. A focal point of the auction is a group of objects by BillyBoy*, multi-disciplinary artist and muse of Andy Warhol, including pieces once loaned to Warhol and Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor. A group of nine Georges Braque jewels demonstrate the translation of his Metamorphoses iconography, crafted by the renowned Baron Heger de Lowenfeld, into elegant and striking pieces with several examples featuring Braque’s bird in flight motif; a diamond-encrusted brooch (1963, estimate: $10,000-15,000), a jasper and diamond pendant (1962, estimate: $18,000-25,000) and a ruby-set brooch (1958, estimate: $10,000-15,000). In addition, two pieces by Alexander Calder are examples of his unique, hand-fashioned works that were often given as gifts to friends. Picasso’s muse and second wife Jacqueline Roque is immortalised in two of the seven works presented that feature the artist’s designs. Further artists include Pol Bury, Salvador Dalì, Max Ernst, Yves Klein, Wifredo Lam, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray and Victor Vasarely. Highlights from the auction can be viewed in London, Geneva and New York until 13 of November 2017.
A protégé of Diana Vreeland, the acclaimed editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, BillyBoy*’s work is revered by both the art and fashion communities with examples from the label he launched in New York, Surreal Couture, now held in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée du Louvre in the prestigious Union Francaise des Arts du Costume department. Formed entirely by hand, all but one of the items presented in this sale from Surreal Couture and Surreal Bijoux, the label established with his husband and collaborator Lala, are unique prototypes and have a distinctive purity of expression and tactility. BillyBoy* and Lala feel that the personalities who wore these pieces such as Andy Warhol, Lauren Bacall and Elizabeth Taylor, have imbued their spiritual imprint on them as well, eternally fusing with the artworks themselves.
Another highlight of the sale is Max Ernst’s “masks”. German-born Surrealist painter, sculptor and printmaker, Ernst became friends with the highly-accomplished goldsmith François Hugo around 1934. Separated during the Second World War, when Ernst was captured as a prisoner of war, the friends were reunited years later and spoke again of the idea of working together. Ernst designed thirty-four pieces of jewellery in total which are often referred to collectively as “masks”, echoing the artist’s interest in primitive forms. Four of Ernst’s decorated geometrical “mask” medallions are presented in Art as Jewellery, three of which come directly from the artist’s family.
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2017 that totalled £5.1 billion / $6.6 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.