Designer: Georges Fouquet (French, 1862–1957)
Date: ca. 1923
Medium: Jade, onyx, diamonds, enamel, platinum
Dimensions: 9 x 3 3/4 x 1/2 in. (22.9 x 9.5 x 1.3 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Eva and Michael Chow, 2001
Accession Number: 2001.723
Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In 1895 Georges Fouquet took over the Paris jewelry firm-at the time known for its wide range of historicist styles-established by his father in 1860. Reinvigorating it with a decidedly modern spirit, he continued to supply his fashionable clientele with exquisite jewels in the latest styles through the 1930s. Many influences contributed to the French Art Deco style. One was the exoticism of the Far East, and this dress ornament typifies that theatrical taste. Its unexpected combination of colors and juxtaposition of materials, including Asian jade, are appropriately matched to the motif of a Chinese mask. The extraordinarily large scale of the jewel suggests that it was probably intended to be a tour-de-force exhibition piece; its weight easily would have torn, or at least compromised, the drape of a delicate dress fabric.