Musée d'Orsay: Gustave Serrurier-Bovy Pendant

Gustave Serrurier-Bovy

Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858-1910)
Between 1905 and 1908
Silver guilt, semiprecious stones, sulphur of pearl and baroque pearls
L. 11.7; W.5.8 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / DR

Pendentif [Pendant]

Gustave Serrurier-Bovy, from Liège, was one of the major figures in the revival of interior design in Belgian, along with Paul Hankar, Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde. Until 1901, the curves and counter curves of the 'Belgian' line was the basis of his architectural and decorative vocabulary. He then simplified his forms and employed a great economy of technical means.
This pendant testifies to this evolution in his style and shows some affinities with the fireguard in sheet and wrought iron (Musée d'Orsay) from Serrurier's own house, built between 1901 and 1904.
Here, however, the demonstrative yet severe nature of the rectilinear, compact structure is tempered by the mobility of the baroque pearls. This piece illustrates the second tendency in Art Nouveau jewellery, both abstract and geometrical. It contrasts with the naturalist trend which made generous use of plant forms and the human figure, represented by the great names in Paris jewellery.

The models for jewellery designed by Serrurier were apparently worn only by his own family. They were not edited or commercialised. The same is true of pieces created by other great architects and decorators of the Art Nouveau movement. The rare pieces of jewellery designed by Horta and Guimard were for their wives, and those by Van de Velde were for his wife and a small circle of friends. This particular pendant was probably worn by Serrurier-Bovy's wife or daughter.