A fascinating and optimistic time in history when music, art, architecture and society took on a transformation of unconventional ideas while maintaining a sense of elegance. We’re drawn to the breathtaking time of excitement and hopefulness wanting to explore for ourselves these wonderful delicacies.
Music was electric and captivated our senses. Everyone knew of Gershwin, Cole Porter and Maurice Ravel. But it was French entertainers like Ada “Bricktop” Smith and the great Josephine Baker who performed nightly to Paris audiences. When Jazz arrived, it was overwhelmingly accepted by the Parisians. It allowed people like Josephine Baker to become a star.
Inspirational developments included Art Deco design and architecture. The Art Deco aesthetic was wonderfully sleek and streamlined with symmetrical and geometric designs. It’s character was seen in everything from furniture, fashion to jewelry.
As a society, the sense of excitement came from freedoms of individuality such as hand holding, free flowing dresses and beautiful jewelry. It gave permission to define who you want to be.
Welcome to Eve J Alfille Gallery & Studio’s new jewelry series, “Jazz Age”. Take a moment to explore the thoughts, inspirations and creations of the Artist’s Statement.
In French schools, the recent past is not taught: too fresh to be history, it may revive controversy. So my high school classes learned all about Versailles and the Baroque style, but nothing about Art Deco, or jazz. Though ‘The Jazz Age’ usually denotes a period in the late 1920’s, its great innovations in style extended long past the 1929 crash. The elegance of Art Deco, coupled with its practicality and relative simplicity, “suggesting better times”, still speaks to us today.
As a child, what had impressed me was the wild romanticism of Art Nouveau, the Paris Metro entrances, the soaring street lights with their sweeping curves. On the other hand, I had nothing but contempt for my parents’ 1940’s furniture, with their restrained, stylized curves, the symmetry and repetition of the little corner motifs, chevrons carved and inlaid in contrasting wood. A frisson ran down my spine recently when, in a 2012 auction catalog I spied those exact armchairs, an Art Deco exemplar, quoted for an extremely handsome sum! How I wish I
had them now!
We revere the elegance of this style: ever modern, it can be treated sumptuously with rare materials, like the inlaid Jean Dunand screen I almost bought in Switzerland in 1981, when we spent a couple of years in Geneva, and my mother-in-law’s diamond brooch. But it had also formed a background of our growing years in its more humble interpretations, the facades of the movie theaters in our small towns, the old Philco radios with the pleated wood cases, the streamline toasters of our early years.
I love the functionality, the stylishness: Art Deco is above all a way of seeing, it looks at the pure geometry of everyday objects, the sun, fountains, ocean liners, the pyramids, and translates them into flat decorative motifs that are at once restrained and joyous! For me, what inspired my current Jazz Age series is the particular duality of the style: how it makes room for both movement and repose, exuberance and severity, inspiration from current times and times past. What other decorative style can throw together speedy trains and ancient pyramids, maybe both in the same piece?
In this series, I have to remind myself to proceed past restraint: it’s permitted to be joyous, even with nothing but the black, white and gray diamonds and pearls! And no problem letting rubies in, just remember to color within the lines! So we will work from both ends, the pastels of moonstones, Ceylon sapphires and opals, and the glorious reds, oranges and yellows of jades, citrines, topaz and rubies. I design, hearing the jazz of Coltrane and Davis, the coolness and the splendor alternating. White gold and palladium for coolness, blush gold for delicacy, all are playing a role in my new Jazz Age series.
Join Eve J Alfille Gallery and Studio, Salon Lotus and gigi Bottega on Saturday, March 24 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sign up now!
Be a glamour star for the day! Join Eve J Alfille Gallery for a one-of-a-kind afternoon of beauty. Start by making your reservations by calling 847-869-7920. Here’s what you can expect on your gorgeous day!
Get spoiled with glamorous styles from Gigi Bottega Boutique!
Find out how to style your hair into an exciting new look with Salon Lotus!
Work with Eve selecting the most amazing jewelry to wear: necklace, earrings bracelet, the works!
Put on the finishing touches with a mini-makeover courtesy of Eve’s own Cato Heinz!
Now you are ready for your glamour photo shoot with Matt Arden, our resident photographer for models and jewelry!
Your glamour day is our gift to you! Bring a friend, or just yourself for a complimentary day of exciting beauty.
All the participating businesses are in downtown Evanston.
Beautiful gems, glittering gold…shop online at http://www.evejewerly.com or come into our store! 623 Grove Street in Evanston. We’ll personally help you to shop for the right present. Open until 6:00 p.m. tonight and tomorrow until 4:00!
This is one of my dream world series: unlike Winter, or the earlier Lunar Garden, in which I recollected and translated images from nature, here the direct experience is mediated through an encounter I had with a striking painting, Carnival, by Lionel Feininger, and later, by two other artistic discoveries that deeply affected me, and which I will relate.
Remember that when Carnival was created, 1908, artists in every medium were entering a fascination with the dream world and its interpretation, which I have always shared.
Have you ever come across a combination of objects, or shapes, or colors, and immediately felt: ” This speaks to me like nothing else”, or ” I have seen this before, but in another dimension, in another world”..?
It comes at you from the side, like a collision, imprints in your mind, and becomes part of a secret tune that plays forever there.. (Surrealist artists like Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali too, delight us with their incongruous objects : they give us the delicious permission to recognize the alternate realities of our nightly dreams).
Ever since I first saw Carnival years ago, I have felt inside the scene, one of the magic creatures ambling the slanted streets. Or maybe the scene is in me. These are exactly the colors, the shapes I take in my dreams, and the traceries on the pavement and the walls still resound inside me. I actually don’t need much sleep, but when I do, I can’t wait to enter the paradise of my dream world.
The creatures in the painting are strong but delicate, the colors astounding but beautiful; seen through the lens of magic realism, they are entirely possible, yet can surely not be grasped, they have no bones.. This is who I wish to be, there but not there, to be seen and followed as I dance under the stars and give joy, but please do not pull me away, do not yank me back to a mean reality.
Over the years, the actual Carnival and the painting coalesced, and I tried to understand the reason for my obsession. Why had I never spoken of it to anyone?
But I knew. I could never speak of it because my joy in the colors, the shapes, complex patterns, even the dance gave me guilt. Such simple delight could not be permitted, I grew up thinking- one would have to pay for it.