Jean Desprès Jewellery

Born in 1889, Jean Després began an academic apprenticeship at the age of 14 with a Parisian goldsmith. It is in this city in full industrial expansion that he draws his inspiration: attracted by the modernity of forms and materials, he immediately appears as an audacious and innovative artist. It was by frequenting the artists of the moment – Picasso, Modigliani, Braque – that he discovered Futurism and Cubism, which also inspired his work and took him even further away from the traditional vision of goldsmithing.

In 1914, when France had just entered the Great War, Jean Després was forced to work as an industrial designer in the workshops of the military aviation. This experience would deeply inspire his work as a goldsmith once the war was over, when he returned to Avallon, the town of his childhood, to set up his workshop.

Endowed with an exceptional talent, he aspires to transmit the aesthetic modernity of his time. He regularly and assiduously participated in the various salons and exhibitions held in Paris and soon made him known to the public.

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From the 1930s on, Jean Després was at the peak of his art. He creates simple and original jewels recognizable by their massive and audacious shapes. He works a lot with silver and stones such as onyx, turquoise or chalcedony. This is also the period during which he makes his so-called "motor" jewellery which he shapes like "nails" and "scrap metal". These very avant-garde pieces of jewellery draw their inspiration from the mechanics of aircraft engines, whose shapes and lines he was able to observe during his experience as an industrial designer. They were presented to the public at the "Aeronautics and Art" exhibition in 1930. On this central theme of his work, he would say: "Mechanics impose a very modern discipline of precision and robustness, and the rejection of all that is useless and complicated".
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