Kaleidoscope effect

Jewellery kaleidoscope

French Art Nouveau jeweler Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

Belt buckle. Brass, three stone blue cameos with crabs. 1905. Gabriel Argy-Rousseau jewellery

Belt buckle. Brass, three stone blue cameos with crabs. 1905. Gabriel Argy-Rousseau jewellery

French Art Nouveau jeweler Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

Born in 1885 in Meslay-le-Vidame, France, Joseph Gabriel Rousseau (1885-1953) became known to the world as a sculptor, ceramist and master of glass. In 1913 he married the Greek Marianne Argyriadis and began to sign his works Gabriel Argy-Rousseau, in honor of his wife. Already the next year, in 1914, Argy-Rousseau first exhibited his projects in the Pate de Verre and won immediate success in the Salon du Des Artistes Français. Critics reacted with enthusiasm, “Such successful forms, such amazing patterns of gold, copper, cobalt, uranium and oxides, such a beautiful mixture of colors!”. Meanwhile, the focus of Argy-Rousseau’s experiments were various methods for achieving the Pate de Verre effects.
However, the main passion was jewelry. Gabriel Argy-Rousseau created magnificent pendants and brooches with stylized forms of fruits, flowers, butterflies and figurines of mythological plots.

Elephant pendant. French Art Nouveau jeweler Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

Elephant pendant. French Art Nouveau jeweler Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

In the production stages of the Pate de Verre tableware each component required individual handmade work. Argy-Rousseau took on the role of master-craftsman, and devoted all his energy to every stage of the production process and acted as both a technical and artistic director. From 1921 to 1931, Rousseau produced wonderful works from the Pate de Verre (cast glass), which was fashionable during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. His vases and bowls were very popular – created in the molten glass opaque and translucent glass inserts and decorations with figurative motifs (animals, people) and abstract.

Products of the company Argy-Rousseau were sold throughout Europe, as well as in North Africa, the United States and Latin America. Highly artistic works of Argy-Russo constantly appear at various auctions, and exhibited in museums in France.

Even the early work of Argy-Rousseau show an easily recognizable individual style, distinguished by high decorativeness. The main theme of his work was various creations of nature – plants, insects and animals. Also, there were often images of female figures. The master brought to his work the simplicity and poise that is characteristic of classical and ancient art. In particular, antique subjects, as in the famous vase “The Garden of the Hesperides”. Since 1917 the natural forms of Argy-Rousseau have become more elongated, and on the whole the influence of the art of Japan has become more and more noticeable.

Despite the fact that Gabriel Argy-Rousseau achieved recognition and financial success at an early stage of his creative activity, the crisis of 1929 seriously affected his company. French master, guided by the advice of his clients, tried to redesign production and switch to the production of completely new models. However, his partner, Moser-Mille, prevented him from doing this. As a result of the deepening economic recession and the accumulation of unsold pâte-de-verre products in storage, Moser-Millo closed the factory on December 31, 1931. The production of Argy-Rousseau lasted exactly 10 years.

Meanwhile, in July 1932, Argy-Rousseau bought out the part of the production that he could afford in the liquidation of the manufactory, and founded his own studio. In addition to the actual pâte de verre, he proceeded to manufacture pâte de verre with enamels. Thus, a limited amount produced in 1932-34. Also, plain glass decorated with enamels, and faceted pâte de cristal (transparent glass, produced from 1934 to 1937).

Unfortunately, more serious difficulties awaited Argy-Rousseau during the Second World War. It was the inability to find both the necessary raw materials and fuel for the stoves. Forced to begin work on commercial porcelain production, Argy-Rousseau couldn’t restore his own production in the postwar years.

French Art Nouveau jeweler Gabriel Argy-Rousseau

Sources
Illustrated album G. Argy – Rousseau. Glassware as art. 1991 Edition
antik-forum