Jerry Fels' fascination with the work of Expressionists Kandinsky and Miro translated beautifully into Renoir's introduction of it's Matisse line in 1952. Plaquettes and inserts were enameled with swirling pastels or in this case, bold primary colors -- a nod to the abstract and the Modern Art movement. It was during this time that classically trained enamelist Curtis Tamm joined the Matisse team. Many consider these early pieces to be some of the most masterful of the company's inventory. Fels' and Tamm's creative partnership lasted the life of the firm. Renoir closed it's doors late in 1964.
The bracelet and earrings pictured, circa 1952-1954, is a perfect example of Matisse's early, innovative work. The bracelet can be seen on page 79 of Burkholz and Kaplan's "Copper Art Jewelry". Plaquettes are blotched with bold enamel colors in reds, blues, greens, and yellows with white pebble like dots strewn throughout. Black striations add definition. Atop the plaquette links, providing the connection, are stepped copper rectangles. In the earrings a smooth copper plaquette back is added. The work is signature early Matisse, the bold vitreous enamel patterns reflecting the firms' predilection towards primitive and geometricized styles.
The link bracelet is a fixed approximate 6 1/4 inches with fold over clasp. Width is about 1 1/8 inches with a maximum 3/16 inch profile. Clip earrings are about 1 inch x 3/ 4 inch. Weigh of the bracelet and earrings demi is approximately 70 grams.
Condition is excellent vintage. All plaques retain enamel finishes. Gorgeous, saturated colors abound. No chips, nicks, cracks or rubs to enamels. Copper components have acquired a rich patina that has not be subjected to polish or abrasive cleaning. There may be the occasional minute surface scratches associated with age and wear, but nothing significant. Bracelet clasp and connector link backs and earring backs do show some normal age commensurate wear. Earring clips retain silver tone finish. (Matisse often combined silvery clips with copper components.) Bracelet clasp and earring clips strong and secure. Extremely clean. Excellent vintage.
Each original earring clip is signed in familiar script: "Matisse" no copyright symbol. The bracelet is not signed, but is a definite part of the demi. Design, materials, construction, signature and overall presentation, as well as references and photos, date the set circa 1952-1954.
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