Ann Getty’s inventive style, love of travel and devotion to the arts are dramatically and elegantly reflected in her personal jewelry collection. Leading the collection are twelve striking jewels by JAR, one of the largest and most important private collections of Mr. Rosenthal’s works to ever appear at auction. JAR’s masterfully crafted jewels are evocative of 18th and 19th century design and find inspiration from historic architecture, intricate textiles, sculpture and nature. From the diamond and gem-set fleur-de-lys brooch (Lot 71) reminiscent of a sublime Medieval stained glass window, to the carved agate Zebra brooch (Lot 62) adorned with a royal headdress, Ann Getty’s collection of JAR jewelry not only spans the artist’s most notable thematic moments but captures his early years of design and exploration.
Though highly coveted and internationally renowned, it was not until JAR’s blockbuster exhibition at London’s Somerset House in 2002 that his jewelry was brought to the consciousness of collectors everywhere. Ann Getty, however, was already a patron of JAR and supported this landmark exhibition by loaning six of her jewels for display.
In 2007, Mrs. Getty loaned four of these jewels to the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum for the Masterpieces of French Jewelry exhibit. In 2013, four additional jewels were requested on loan for JAR’s historic retrospective at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first living jeweler to be granted this honor.
With a variety of materials including surprising color combinations of gemstones, Mrs. Getty’s collection demonstrates exceptional architectural depth, dynamism and scale. The majority of her jewels reflect Mr. Rosenthal’s enchantment with flora and fauna and their depiction in textiles, fabrics and art – a mutual passion shared between the two.
Ann Getty’s ‘Shell’ brooch and ‘Parrot Tulip’ brooch were purchased from JAR in 1990 and 1991 respectively and later loaned by Mrs. Getty for all three exhibitions. The ‘Shell’ (Lot 63) combines variously-sized rubies and spinels evoking the smooth yet diverse landscape of the ocean’s floor. Notably, the ‘Parrot Tulip’ brooch (Lot 73), a magnificent ode to Mrs. Getty’s Dutch heritage, features smaller faceted rubies, diamonds and green garnets which together create a lifelike brilliance, as though the blossom was newly plucked from the earth. The ability to create these moments while embodying the delicate balance between nature, color and form can only be found in works by JAR.
Ann Getty’s refined eye and appreciation for the history of design are reflected throughout the remainder of the jewelry collection (Lots 52 to 61). From a pair of 18th century Spanish girandole earrings to a table-cut diamond and enameled bow brooch, antique jewelry is well represented throughout her collection. Other highlights include an early 20th century Belle Époque diamond choker and a contemporary Angela Cummings multicolored leaf necklace. Known to pair historical pieces from Italy, France, Spain and India in her interior designs, Mrs. Getty’s jewelry collection embodies her personal elegance, her intellectual curiosity and her love of adventure.