Once upon a time I’ve seen some candlesticks. Since I am not very much into candlesticks it was such a surprise for me not to forget them immediately! The image of the martelé metal and the gourmet chain was still coming in my mind obsessively day after day… then I start to make some research on them… it was about Jean Després!
Lucky to live a long life – born on 15thof June 1889, died 13th of November 1980 – Jean Després became famous and successful during his life (we all know not all the artists have this luck!), although it wasn’t easy from the beginning. Jeweler and goldsmith, his artwork wasn’t limited only to jewelry, but to pieces of tableware, binders, liturgical objects too. During his long life he had the opportunity to live the most important changes in the Art field: the 1920s – which were of course his starting period, followed by the 1930s – the most rich of originality and imagination. During the WWII and the years after he started to use cheaper materials – like pewter, iron etc – because all the good materials were consumed for war purposes and the commerce of gold were forbidden by the Bank of France in 1940. Without losing his inspiration, in 1942 Jean Després was saying “I have launched the sport jewels in bronze. I don’t lose my hope to inaugurate one day an exhibition of white metal!”. After the war he has continued his art work and his participation to the Art Fairs as he was used to do. A fighter spirit, he used to say he likes to compete, without fight you can’t get a good work of art, so he competed and gained a lot of prices which brought him international recognition.
Even his jewelry wasn’t successful in some exhibitions in 1925-1928, he continued to exhibit until in 1929 at the “40th Salon of Independent Artists” is remarked – the people started to like his too modern jewelries.
He had closely collaboratedwith Étienne Cournault and Jean Majodon.
When he died, at age 91, he expressed his wish that his workshop to be dismantled and in this way his artistic adventure to end in the same time with him.
Over time, we acquired, as much as it was possible, any item by Jean Després we found…and here they are few of them that I want to share with you today.