UPDATE 8/10: Is this a work of sculptor Alexander Calder...?
August 10, 2016
Curious about the necklace in the image above? I said a little something about in my video last week (please see the link below if you haven't watched the video yet). I call it my Calder-esque necklace. I bought it online, on Etsy.com, actually. I was simply surfing and having a blast viewing the new pieces my favorites got in and then...BAM! This piece hit me. I immediately loved it's handcrafted appeal and it's amazing kinetic qualities. It's solid silver and was currently located just outside Paris.
What struck me was it's strong reference to Alexander Calder's jewelry. AC was probably the most well known sculptor of the twentieth century and he first explored his oeuvre in wire to make jewelry for family and friends. He once said, "I think best in wire" and these small sculptures informed his later, larger and better known works. Anyway, I bought the necklace because I absolutely fell in love with it--and just fyi, this is THE only reason to buy jewelry. Never buy it because you think it's a good investment--sometimes is it and other times you will be disappointed.
When it arrived I studied it, tried it on with different outfits, etc. It looks fantastic on and made everything I wore with look avant garde, whimsical, or more interesting. Then I got to thinking--maybe I should check out its provenance. So I contacted the dealer from whom I bought it and he told me that it spent time in both Paris and the south of France. Guess who also spent time in both places? Uh-huh, you're right.
So I sent off a few pics to my friends at Christies. Well, surprise-surprise, they thought it could be made by Calder!! They told me they wanted to put it into an upcoming auction and gave me a whopping and unbelievable estimate on it (6 figures--I was sick with a cold when they emailed me and suddenly my symptoms got so much better, lol). Just. Llke. Wow. BUT the necklace would have to be authenticated by The Calder Foundation in NYC. So I handed over the necklace to Christies who, in turned, gave to TCF to examine. Two weeks went by and no answer was forth-coming. I actually had to track down someone at the TCF to get a response.
The answer wasn't yes. It also wasn't a total no either. It was "we have no precedent for it. So we cannot authenticate it. Sorry." They added a couple of other reasons that seemed to me--and my husband who listened in on the conversation--a bit on the unconvincing side regarding the silver wire gauge qnd the necklace's provenance. Calder worked in a variety of wire in silver, brass, and even gold. The pieces I've observed vary in wire gauge, but they are experts so I bow to the discretion. At the end of our conversation, the woman at TCF asked me to let them know, directly, should I find anything else of interest in my travels or vintage jewelry purchase that resemble a Calder work. I guess my eye is good enough to not have to go through my friends at Christies again. Good to know.
The moral of my story is you just never know. Emailing pictures of your find off to one of the leading auction houses doesn't cost a thing and it may just end up being something you never could possibly imagine. Worst case scenario, you learn more about your taste, your eye, and our cultural heritage. Knowledge is power, ultimately, and being empowered is a bonus, whether it boosts your bank account or next trip to a flea market or tag sale.
So ok, I've just published a video on Youtube about what jewelry to wear with a LBD--these are only a few suggestions to get the discussion going. The silver "Calderesque" necklace in the video I'll discuss a few days--a fun story that might inspire you to question the possibilities you find in your closet...
Detail question: What is the subject of my cameo? She was made at the turn of the 20th century and was inspired by a very famous NY monument...can you guess?