Flora in the Art of Jewelry: An Conversation with L'ÉCOLE

May 5, 2017 | By French Culture
  • On Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy welcomed L'ÉCOLE school of jewelry arts professors Inezita Gay-Eckel and Gislain Aucremanne for a conversation about flora in the art of jewelry. Thomas Michelon, Deputy Cultural Counselor, introduced the speakers. 

  • Dear all, it is a pleasure to be here with you tonight for this evening conversation brought to us by L’École des Arts Joailliers and Van Cleef & Arpels, a long-time partner of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. 

  • It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Inezita Gay-Eckel and Gislain Aucremanne, our distinguished speakers tonight. 

  • Here at the Cultural Services, we are strongly dedicated to preserving artistic know-how and are constantly seeking new ways to share craftsmanship with wider audiences. French savoir-faire has been at the center of the arts for centuries, and it is our duty and honor to pay tribute to it through our programming and initiatives. For example, our Oui Design program is entirely committed to the promotion of French design, and has allowed us to support events such as the ongoing exhibition we are hosting at Wanted Design featuring transatlantic collaborations between French and American designers and manufacturers. 

  • Van Cleef & Arpels has been our partner in this mission for years now, particularly since the creation of our Albertine bookshop and reading room. From the construction of Albertine to the launch and successful development of the Albertine Festival, and this year’s inaugural Albertine Prize, Van Cleef has been a steadfast partner, and we are so grateful for your committed, active support. I would like to personally thank Nicolas Bos, Global CEO, and Alain Bernard, CEO of the Americas, for their involvement and friendship. 

  • As much as we love Albertine, there is another true jewel of the Payne Whitney Mansion I want to emphasize on tonight. Like the beautiful jewels on display here, it also takes inspiration from flora. It is the last creation of the famed architect Stanford White in 1906, the Venetian Room, an extraordinary vestige and rare example of the Gilded Age. 

  • In the spirit of tonight’s theme, Flora in the Art of Jewelry, I thought I would draw your attention to the dozens of delicate porcelain flowers of all shapes and colors decorating the walls of the Venetian Room. They were individually hand-crafted and are truly unique. 

    • Our beloved Venetian Room, however, is rapidly deteriorating and in need of restoration. In order to preserve these masterpieces of craftsmanship, we have initiated an Adopt-a-Flower campaign by which donors have the opportunity to adopt one or more of the flowers through tax-deductible contributions in return for a limited-edition professional photographic print of the chosen flower or bouquet. 

  • I encourage you all to visit the Venetian room after our discussion to admire its beauty for yourselves. Until then, thank you for being here! I now give the floor to Mrs. Sophie Biscard, director of development.

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