Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons

Diane Venet with the ring made by Bernar Venet. Photo: Yann Delacour

Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons. Diane Venet’s Collection, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal, will be on show in the Cupola Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) from 4 November to 3 December 2017. In all, it features 113 pieces of jewellery created by 82 well-known and illustrious artists of the 20th and 21st centuries – Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Roy Lichtenstein, Max Ernst, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque, Niki de Saint Phalle, Lucio Fontana, Antony Gormley, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Yoko Ono, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, and many more.

Diane Venet (France / USA) has been collecting artist-made jewellery for 20 years, and her collection now contains more than 200 objects. She calls her collection an ‘intimate museum’ – not just because it’s so compact that it all fits into just a couple of boxes, but because these objects are by their very nature a key that connects the private sphere with art history. They represent various romantic, and sometimes also humorous, episodes from people’s lives as well as creative searches manifested in the form of small objects. For example, Spanish-born genius Pablo Picasso made jewellery for his mistresses Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar. American sculptor Alexander Calder – who made about 1800 pieces in all – sometimes made jewellery in the shape of his friends’ initials. French sculptor César created jewellery using the same technique he used for his iconic ‘crushed’ cars. He invited friends to give him pieces of their jewellery that no longer held meaning for them, and then he crushed them together, creating concentrated pendants of memories called ‘micro-sculptures’.

Many of the pieces in Venet’s collection were made specially for her, and she continues to approach young authors, inviting them to create pieces for her collection, at the same time, of course, challenging them to try something new. But no matter the reason behind making a piece of jewellery, each and every one of them displays the master’s particular style.

“Diane Venet’s collection has an intimate and also very chrestomathic quality – in essence, it reflects the essence of 20th and 21st century art in miniature. In addition, this will be the first time that the work of many outstanding artists will be shown in Riga,” says Una Meistere, the director of

Diane Venet’s mission has always been to share. She wears jewellery from her collection every day, and the collection has been exhibited in a number of venerable art institutions around the world. In 2011, it was shown at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), and it later travelled to Athens, Valencia, Miami, Seoul, and Venice. After the exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of Art, it will move to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where it will open in March 2018.

“I don’t feel like I’m wearing jewellery; I feel like I’m wearing art,” says Diane Venet. “These pieces of jewellery are my friends. And there’s movement in this process. Unlike a work of art that’s on a wall or a sculpture that’s displayed somewhere, these miniature works of art become alive when they are worn.”

Like the jewellery itself, each exhibition of Diane Venet’s collection has a special visual story as well. In Venice the small objects were displayed in cases, like jewellery. However, in Miami and Athens they were exhibited on the walls, like artwork. The Riga exhibition offers visitors an elusive journey of discovery and emotion – in this particular moment and place. The exhibition’s visual character has been created by the Latvian designer duo MAREUNROL’S (Rolands Pēterkops and Mārīte Mastiņa).



Diane Venet
, art collector (France / USA)

Una Meistere, Daiga Rudzāte

Culture and art portal

MAREUNROL’S (Rolands Pēterkops and Mārīte Mastiņa)

Astrīda Rogule
Curator of the Contemporary Art Collection, Latvian National Museum of Art
Ph: (+371) 67 602466 (Mūkusalas iela 41b),

FACEBOOK: Latvijas Nacionālais mākslas muzejs
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Press release prepared by:
Natalie Suyunshalieva
Head of Press
The Latvian National Museum of Art
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