The Art of Bulgari

A dazzling exhibition at San Francisco's de Young Museum.

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The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco recently opened an exhibition at the de Young Museum of approximately 150 pieces created by renowned Italian jeweller Bulgari over four decades. Along with many pieces from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor, works in the exhibition also include those from the 1970s and 80s, a particularly innovative period for the jeweller and one influenced by Pop Art and other contemporary trends.

The overall effect of seeing these pieces congregated in two salons is of witnessing jewels as design, jewels as art, in an intense experience. It is at once cerebral and instinctual. “The hard-edged designs of the 1970s included a whole range based on the Stars-and-Stripes motif, while in the 1980s, the Parentesi collection had a smoother, modular, almost architectural presence. Both show how the jeweller could lead in new directions with a strong sense of design,” says Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950 – 1990 will be on display at the de Young through February 17, 2014.

Photo by Randy Dodson, courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

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October 2, 2013