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Artist-Designed 18kt Gold Brooch, Jean Filhos

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Fine Jewelry - 2610B
Date / Time :
September 11, 2012 10:00AM


Artist-Designed 18kt Gold Brooch, Jean Filhos, France, the abstract form with writhing serpents, lg. 4 3/8 in., no. 1/8, maker's mark for Gennari, Paris, with artist-incised signature.

Note: Jean Filhos (1921-2002) studied architecture, and later moved into sculpture. He quickly became interested in small objects, and was aided by Francois Gennari, whose gallery on Rue Bonaparte was devoted to jewelry sculptors. His work ranges from abstract to figural, with a sense of the erotic. He also designed household objects for Christofle and a coffee service for Sevres.

Note: Property from the Estate of Joan Sonnabend, lots 260-402.
Joan Sonnabend opened her tiny gallery at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1973. She started with a 100-piece collection of "sculptures to wear". Included in the pins, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, were works by such artists as Man Ray, Pol Bury, Picasso, Arp, and Calder. She was never a jeweler, but an art dealer. From the time she graduated Sarah Lawrence with an art degree, she always knew she wanted to open a gallery. After opening Sculpture to Wear, many artists sought her out to create items for the gallery. She became friendly with many of them, and maintained these relationships for many years. In 1973, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, mounted a show called "Jewelry As Sculpture as Jewelry." The intent of the show was to elevate body ornament to the level of art. It showcased artists and jewelers who were especially interested in using various and unconventional materials. Joan Sonnabend's gallery at the Plaza was in part responsible for the exhibition and the creation of a market for artists' jewelry. For me personally, Joan opened my eyes to the interplay between jewelry, sculpture, adornment, and art. She always believed in the power of art and remained an art dealer until her passing.
Estimate $2,500-3,500

Some tarnish, slight bend on tail of serpent, otherwise without issues


Joan Sonnabend, Jean Filhos, Francois Gennari, Sarah Lawrence, France, Paris, art dealer, Plaza Hotel, Picasso, Bury, jeweler, Institute of Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Sculpture