Bracelet and ring by Georges Fouquet
Georges Fouquet, Paris, 1899
Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies and opal, bracelet : 210X63, ring: 60X24
Sakai City Cultural Hall, Alphonse Mucha Museum.
The Art Nouveau bracelet is often considered to be one of the most beautiful of its genre. It is articulated in the shape of a serpent, with the body in enamel and the head in opal mosaic. From the serpent’s mouth dangles a gold chain that ends in a ring. This superb jewel was sketched out by Alphonse Mucha and created by Georges Fouquet for Sarah Bernhardt, who in 1890 scored a great triumph in her role of Cleopatra, a play by Victorien Sardou. Nine years later, Mucha will re-embody this glorious event in this jewel. Art Nouveau was a novel style trend, created as a reaction against the opulence in diamond jewels at the closing of the 19th century. Art Nouveau jewels set with diamonds are rarities. The symbolism of these jewels is strongly emphasized by the non-traditional materials used and by their different decorative shapes.
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) will become the most celebrated actress of her time and the all-time greatest legend in French theatre. During her performances in London, Oscar Wilde named her « The Divine Sarah ». Her elegance and charisma allowed her to become an international Diva and the inspiring Muse of many an artist of her time. She herself was a great admirer of the Art Nouveau style.