These great designers came together only once to display their goods in what was probably the most opulent exhibition ever mounted. At the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Faberge, Tiffany and Lalique strove to position themselves ahead of their many competitors in the luxury market, each presenting his jewelry and home adornments as high art. Their success is explored in this splendidly illustrated catalogue, which elucidates the prewar pinnacle of European culture.
The array of displayed objects was mesmerizing: Tiffany glass, Easter eggs to dazzle the Czars, realistic insects created in precious materials as sinister decorations. Many of these bore influences of the advanced art of the time, such as Art Nouveau, Viennese modernism, and symbolism, and of styles from around the world. Four essays discuss the works in the context of their times, illuminate the high societies served by the three masters, and trace the cultural trends behind their extraordinary creations. A treasure of accompanying photographs shows the individual exhibits, scenes from the World's Fair, and the glitterati who wore the jewelry.
The book's editor Stephen Harrison is curator of decorative arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Emmanuel Ducamp has written and lectured widely on Russian and French decorative arts. Jeannine Falino is an independent curator, formerly the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.