The Art of Movement features for the first time in the UK, nearly 100 creations from the Van Cleef & Arpels archive collection, plus numerous historical documents, gouache illustrations and lender masterpieces. The exhibition displays emblematic pieces alongside new acquisitions and historical pieces that reflect lifestyles of days gone by. Together they show the evolution and reflection of French elegance over the decades since the Maison was founded in 1906.

    The Art of Movement is part of a 2022 celebration in London that began with the French jewellery brand’s Dance Reflections Festival in March and follows on from its participation at the Masterpiece Fair in June and July. Nicolas Bos President & CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, said, “Whether it is artistic, mechanical or first dreamed before being drawn and masterly rendered in precious materials, movement has always captivated and still fascinates Van Cleef & Arpels. Capturing the ephemeral has become one of the Maison’s ultimate quests throughout its history. Such a tradition is today demonstrated for the first time in Great Britain in collaboration with the Design Museum”.

    The Art of Movement at the Design Museum continues Van Cleef & Arpels’celebration of movement initiated in 2022 in London with the Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival and the participation in Masterpiece.

    Van Cleef & Arpels is famed for its artistry, craftsmanship and pieces of high jewellery that infuse movement into precious materials making them light and dynamic, almost “alive”. It is not surprise then that to display this rare set of creations, the scenography echoes the theme of movement. To welcome visitors at the entrance, a floating matte ribbon takes the shape of an ethereal flower and unfolds to guide visitors on their journey throughout the exhibition. This shape is inspired by the Silhouette Flower clip, an emblematic design imagined by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s.

    The flower anamorphosis at the entrance of the exhibition is inspired by the Silhoutte Flower clip, an iconic Van Cleef & Arpels design from the 1930s.

    The four themes explored by the Maison in this show: Nature Alive, Elegance, Dance and Abstract Movements, are given pride of place thanks to a unique setting inspired by the world of couture. Each showcase is entirely made of pleated fabric and assembled on a vertical floor-to-ceiling support. Like abstract paintings, it attracts the eye and kindles a thoughtful dialogue with the jewels, as the textile folds and curves echoing the designs of the pieces.

    Left, 37 clip from 1937 in yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds; Right, Trois Clochettes clip from 1964 in yellow gold, rubies and diamonds, both pieces part of the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.

    Tim Marlow, Director and CEO of the Design Museum, commented,“We are delighted to be able to showcase Van Cleef & Arpels’ remarkable collection at the Design Museum. We celebrate design in all its forms and this new exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for UK audiences to enjoy and explore the exquisite craftsmanship that has gone into their work for over a century.”

    The Art of Movement

    Design Museum, London

    224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG

    23th September to 20 October 2022

    For more information and tickets, visit designmuseum.org

    Opening image: Leaf secret watch, 1956. Yellow gold, platinum, sapphires and diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.

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