Go on a journey through Time, Nature and Love with this new Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition
Here’s what you can expect to see at the exhibition when it opens on January 19…
For Van Cleef & Arpels, time, nature and love have been part of an ever-evolving design language, a driver of creativity since its founding in 1906.
A new exhibition at Riyadh’s National Museum of Saudi Arabia, “Van Cleef & Arpels: Time, Nature, Love” delves deep into the company’s long history of craftsmanship and innovation. An exhibition that showcases how the objects reflected the era in which they were created while remaining timeless in their appeal.
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Open to the public from Thursday January 19 to Saturday April 15, the free exhibition is a dreamlike homage to the High Jewellery Maison’s emblematic sources of inspiration.
More than 280 jewellery pieces, watches and precious objects – a mix of the brand’s historical collection and more recent creations – will be on display for the first time in the Kingdom this week, along with private loans and archives. There are also many original drawings on display, which help understand the jewellery-making process.
What to know
The exhibition is divided into three thematic chapters, Time, Nature, and Love. Each focuses on the Maison’s core values, interpreted through different eras, styles, and creative expressions. The sinuous scenography of the exhibition welcomes visitors with its neon-coloured lights, creating a poetic and mysterious space.
The first section, devoted to Time, takes up the largest part of the exhibition, encompassing ten rooms at the museum. The first room is dedicated to Paris (where Van Cleef & Arpels finds its origins), after which comes Elsewhere, followed by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s five values: Lightness, Quickness, Visibility, Exactitude and Multiplicity. The last three rooms explore Intersections with Dance, Architecture and Couture – disciplines that have always inspired Van Cleef & Arpels’ creative style.
It’s little wonder that so much of the Maison’s has been informed by love stories. A powerful energy, Love gave birth to the French jewellery house: it was founded in 1906 following the wedding of Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a gem cutter, and Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a dealer in precious stones, in Paris, a few years before. Here, some 30 pieces – clips, rings, bracelets, objects and more – together with sketches and archival documents illustrate the full symbolic power of precious gifts, as well as the bonds Van Cleef & Arpels forged with certain legendary couples who left their mark on the 20th century.
The final portion is dedicated to Nature, expressed through Botany, Flora, and Fauna. However, it’s not just the beauty of nature that Van Cleef & Arpels is enthralled by – it is the constant state of metamorphoses of both flora and fauna that it admires and aims to encapsulate. This section calls to mind a stroll through a lush garden, enveloped in greenery and flowers in bloom, birds in flight and mischievous animals, all representative of the ever-evolving style of the Maison.
As the newest addition to the museum’s line-up of exhibits, the “Van Cleef & Arpels: Time, Nature, Love” show – supported by the Saudi Ministry of Culture – will surely not disappoint, allowing visitors to discover an enchanting vision in which Maison’s expert craftsmanship and pursuit of harmony come together as a true art form. And even better, did we mention that entry is free?
‘Van Cleef & Arpels: Time, Nature, Love’ Exhibition, The National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Halls 1 & 2, Mon to Wed & Sat 9am to 7pm, Thurs 9am to 10pm, Fri 2pm to 10pm. The event is free, but a ticket is required to enter.