Events & Awards

Jewelry from Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Jeff Koons Goes to the Hamptons

Events & AwardsAug 02, 2021

Jewelry from Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Jeff Koons Goes to the Hamptons

“Sculpture to Wear” opens at Sotheby’s East Hampton this week.

This Man Ray “Les Amoureux” necklace, circa 1970, converts into a brooch. It and more than 80 pieces of jewelry from modern and contemporary artists will be on display and offered for sale starting this week at Sotheby’s East Hampton through a collaboration with Louisa Guinness Gallery.
East Hampton, N.Y.—Sotheby’s is making its East Hampton outpost a jewelry- and art-lover’s paradise this summer.

Opening this week is “Sculpture to Wear,” a collaboration with London’s Louisa Guinness Gallery.

Guinness is a pioneer in the contemporary artist jewelry category, collecting and selling jewels created by her favorite 20th century and current artists for her eponymous art gallery, and even authoring a book on the subject called “Art as Jewellery: Calder to Kapoor.”

She explained, “Some people would like a Picasso on their walls, others prefer to wear one. Works by artists are scarce. The majority of pieces that exist are owned by just a few people and are buried deep in their private possessions.”

Guinness collaborated with Sotheby’s Senior Business Development Executive Tiffany Dubin, an advisor to Sotheby’s top 500 clients with expertise spanning art, fashion, and jewelry, to curate the “Sculpture to Wear” exhibition sale.

Niki de Saint Phalle “Assemblage” necklace
Niki de Saint Phalle “Assemblage” necklace

It features 80-plus works from more than two dozen artists, including Surrealist and Dadaist icons like Alexander Calder, Max Ernst and Man Ray, modern and contemporary artists like Ed Ruscha, Lucio Fontana, and Niki de Saint Phalle, and current culture drivers such as Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, and Yinka Shonibare. 

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Art lovers will undoubtedly flock to the sale in hopes of acquiring something to wear from their favorite artists, but jewelry connoisseurs also will be delighted to see works from the likes of Cora Sheibana and Christopher Thompson Royds, designers who count jewelry as their medium of choice but muddy the distinction between jewelry and art.

It’s exactly that sweet spot where Guinness’ passion resides. 

Anish Kapoor “Water Ring, Form I, Small” 2011 (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s East Hampton/Louisa Guinness Gallery)
Anish Kapoor “Water Ring, Form I, Small” 2011 (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s East Hampton/Louisa Guinness Gallery)

“They can be worn and exhibited as a piece of art,” she said.

Each featured piece is signed and either one-of-a-kind or limited edition.

Dubin opined, “The discerning collector understands that they can own a masterpiece created at a human scale.”

She counts works from Claude Lalanne, Jesús Rafael Soto, Christopher Thompson Roys, and Rob Wynne as favorites, and calls rings by Anish Kapoor, “…any woman’s dream. I’ll take mine in 18-karat white gold with a pink enameled interior.”

Claude Lalanne “Apple Earrings”
Claude Lalanne “Apple Earrings”

Her ultimate preference is the 18-karat gold “Les Amoureux” necklace from Man Ray, circa 1970, which converts into a brooch.

“Sculpture to Wear” opens Aug. 3 and will be on view at Sotheby’s East Hampton, located at 66 Newtown Lane, through Aug. 28. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

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