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Jean Després French Modernist Silver and Gilt Silver Ring

Created around 1930, this silver and silver gilt modernist ring was made by hand by Jean Després. The ring centers arched motifs flanked by gilt silver cylindrical motifs on stepped shoulders with subtle patination, completed by a wide band and ribbed posterior shank. Combining references to machine engineering with a sense of architectural volume, this sculptural ring stands as a statement for a dynamic age of speed and transformation.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: R-21133
Artist: Jean Després
Country: France
Circa: 1930
Size: 9.75 (this ring can be sized; please contact the gallery for further information)
Materials: Silver; Silver gilt
Signed: J. Després, maker's mark, French assay mark

Després' mastery of the visual language of machinery was won by experience - he served in World War I as a draftsman designing engine parts in the French air corps. Though less graphic than the imagery of some of his motor jewels ("Bijoux Moteurs"), this ring may reference the piston - its compression rings and pins, or other parts of the French "Le Rhône" rotary engines with which Després had an intimate working knowledge. While concerned almost exclusively with the imagery of the machine, Després made his jewelry working alone, by hand, adding meticulous touches such as areas of dark patination to the silver, enhancing the forms' shadow and volume.