Vive la France!
On the fourteenth of July, France celebrates their national day, often called Bastille Day in the States. So we’re taking you on a little tour of stylistic history—from La Belle Époque to the Art Deco—with some of our favorite French-made pieces, storming the blog here in honor of la Fête nationale.
La Belle Époque, from roughly the late 19th century to 1914, is of the most sought-after styles of French jewelry. And it’s easy to see why! These rich, lavish pieces, lent an air of lightness by the energy and optimism of the period, still look fresh today.
Another iconic period is that of the Art Nouveau, a style with its origins in Britain’s Arts and Crafts Movement. It didn’t take long for this organic, craft-focused aesthetic to cross the Channel, where it can still be seen in landmarks such as the famous Paris metro station. Learn more about the Art Nouveau period in jewelry on our sister site, Antique Jewelry University (http://www.langantiques.com/university/Art_Nouveau_Jewelry).
This luscious lady seems to straddle the two movements—her execution is distinctly Art Nouveau, but her appearance and dress are closer to that of a Belle Époque cabaret dancer by Toulouse-Lautrec, attending to her toilette before going onstage at the Moulin Rouge. Truly a beauty for the ages…and that décolletage doesn’t hurt, either!
The focus on craftsmanship and natural lines can certainly be seen in this long, lovely chain necklace.
You can just imagine a flower-crowned Alphonse Mucha lady pulling this exquisite pendant watch from the folds of her flowing gown.
Emerging from the Art Nouveau—but also a reaction to it—came the Art Deco period, which turned away from natural elements to embrace a geometric, decidedly modern mode. Born in Paris at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs in 1925, its international impact, from the skyscrapers of New York, to the movie palaces of golden-age Hollywood, to the innovative advertising posters of pre-war Japan, is distinctly French in origin.
With such a wide sphere of influence, it’s no wonder that so many of our most popular pieces can be categorized as Art Deco. This chic and glamorous bracelet is a perfect example.
The asymmetrical design of this ring makes it especially eye-catching and unexpected.
This intricate, exquisite brooch perfectly illustrates the Eastern influence, or Japonisme, on French design—an appreciation that would be reciprocated by Japanese artists’ adoption of Art Deco aesthetics in their own traditional prints, textiles, and other media.
So, what’s your favorite style—La Belle Époque, Art Nouveau, or Art Deco? Here at Lang we just can’t choose…we love them all!