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Diane Venet wearing a ring by Bernar Venet. Photo: Yann Delacour presents: Diane Venet’s Collection of Jewellery Created by Artists 0

Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal, is on show in the Cupola Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art from November 4 until December 3. 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.

Read in the Archive: An interview with French artist jewellery collector Diane Venet 

Diane and Bernar Venet photographed in front of his sculptural relief, Surface indéterminée hachurée, at their home in Paris, 2005. Photo: Jean-François Jaussaud / Luxproductions

Venet 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 Picasso made jewellery for his mistresses Dora Maar and Marie-Thérèse Walter, and 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 legendary ‘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’.

Diane and Frank Stella in 2014 on the occasion of the Venet Foundation's inauguration. Photo from Diane Venet's archives

Many of the pieces in Venet’s collection were made specially for her, and she continues to approach young artists, 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 artist’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 legendary artists will be shown in Riga,’ says Una Meistere, the director of

Diane and C.sar in Venice in 1995, the year that C.sar represented France at the Venice Biennale. Photo from Diane Venet's archives

Venet’s mission has always been to share. She wearsjewellery 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 latertravelled 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 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.’

Diane and Jean Tinguely, 1990. Photo from Diane Venet's archives

Like the jewellery itself, each exhibition of 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 artist duo MAREUNROL’S

Jeff Koons (1955). Rabbit necklace, 2005–2009. Platinum, pendant 7.5 cm; chain 100 cm. Edition 11/50

Keith Haring (1958–1990). Crawling baby, 1989.  18kt gold, 4.5 x 7 cm. Edition 28/200

Anish Kapoor (1954). Two-sided ring, 2005. White and yellow gold, 3.75 x 3 x 3 cm.  Edition 1/10

To launch off the exhibition, on November 3 at 11:00 am, Diane Venet will give a talk titled “Artist-created jewelery. The essence of art history in miniature.” 

The exhibition is sponsored by SIA “Alfor”, Latvia's national airline “airBaltic”, Porsche Center Riga, Live Riga, the French Institute in Latvia, Gallery Park Hotel, and P.R.A.E. Public Relations. Advertising support: “Pastaiga” magazine and “Delfi” online news service. The exhibition's collaborative partner is the Latvian National Museum of Art.