The Surrealist movement, often provocative and with a widespread following in the artistic spheres, spanned the entire period between the two World Wars, and lasted, in watered down form, well into the 1960s. Based on the aesthetic beliefs of the French poets Andr Breton, Paul Eluard and Paul Reverdy, the Surrealists issued two manifestos in 1924 and 1929.
One of the group's main preoccupations was to explore the subconcious. A link between dreams and reality was sought, demonstrating a desire to find a new "super" reality.
Illogical juxtaposition was practiced by such artists as Salvador Dali. A renewed interest in the fantastic aspects in the painting of such artists as Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) and Francisco Jos Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) manifested itself.
Several pieces in this collection illustrate jewellers working in the Surrealist vein during the 1970s: the double-lip pink and red coral lipstick holder by Chaumet is reminiscent of Salvador Dali. The Catalonian artist produced his first jewel - a pair of ruby lips with pearl teeth - with Fulco di Verdura in 1941.
Nickie de St. Phalle's necklace - its colourful lips, eyes and hand, suspended as if floating from gold wire, removed from the context of a face - also demonstrates the "waking dream" sensation so sought after by the Surrealists.