“Art Nouveau Jewelry by Rene Lalique” brings 47 pendants, necklaces, combs, tiaras, chest ornaments, bracelets and brooches plus 21 related drawings from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon to the County Museum of Art, Thursday through Aug. 18. In addition, 10 Lalique pieces from American collections and 14 drawings from the Lalique family collection in Paris are on loan to the exhibition.

Lalique was born in 1860 in Marne, studied at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, worked as an apprentice to Parisian jeweler Louis Aucoc and designed for Boucheron and Cartier. At the end of 1885 Lalique took over the atelier of jeweler Jules Destape in Paris and began experimenting with new forms, materials and techniques.

Lalique designed most of the stage jewelry for Sarah Bernhardt, fabricating oversized pieces which could easily be seen by the audience.

The female nude was a favorite motif of Lalique, who sometimes flanked it with swans or other sensuous flora and fauna. He incorporated unusual materials into his designs: horn, ivory, tortoise shell, copper, steel, and re-introduced semi-precious colored cabochon stones, which gave his jewelry an opulently exotic and sophisticated look.


Lalique’s work with enamels led to an interest in glass; in 1909 he bought a glass factory where he experimented with new uses of the material. One of the resulting pieces, the “Grape Hyacynth Necklace,” contains 10 stylized grape clusters of molded translucent glass alternating with leaf and vine formations of green enameled gold.

An illustrated catalogue with introduction and individual entries by Maria Theresa Gomes Ferreira, director of the Gulbenkian Museum, accompanies the exhibition which was organized and circulated by the International Exhibitions Foundation in Washington.

“The European Goldsmith: Silver From the Schroder Collection” also opens Thursday at the County Museum of Art and continues through Sept. 7. It features 79 silver and gilded-silver display objects, dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries and surveying the European goldsmith’s decorative art.

The pieces reflect the prevailing taste of wealthy patrons, and their designs are often based on domestic objects such as ewers, vases and cups, their utilitarian form treated as a theme for elegant and fanciful variations. Several vessels incorporate other materials such as rock crystal, semi-precious stones and ivory, held in a mount of precious metal.


Some of the vessels were intended for the collector’s cabinet or ceremonial purposes.

The Schroder collection contains 95 objects acquired over the past 100 years by members of the family, founders of one of the world’s largest and most prestigious merchant banks. This traveling exhibition was organized in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Schroder Bank and Trust Co. in New York.

Twenty-six California institutions are among 409 museums nationwide receiving general operating support from the Institute of Museum Services this year. The awards assist museums with the costs of basic services and operations.

A total of 1,345 museums applied for the one-year grants, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Institutions are eligible for 10% of their non-federal operating income up to a maximum of $75,000, which is the highest figure awarded; $5,000 was the lowest.


The County Museum of Art and the County Museum of Natural History each received $75,000, as did the Newport Harbor Art Museum, the Palm Springs Desert Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, Scripps Aquarium Museum in La Jolla, San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Natural History Museum, the Oakland Museum, San Francisco Exploratorium, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Smaller awards included $40,058 to the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, $30,856 to the La Habra Children’s Museum, $35,000 to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, $51,506 to the Santa Ana Zoo, and $5,000 to the Olivas Adobe Historical Park in Ventura.

The Long Beach Museum of Art opens “Japan/American” today, through Aug. 17. The exhibition consists of works by Japanese-American artists Kyoko Asano, Mineko Grimmer, Keiko Kasai, Hirokazu Kosaka, Masayuki Oda, Mayumi Oda, Minoru Ohira and Masami Teraoka.

Selected to represent a blend of past and present, tradition and innovation, the works in varied media present personal statements, some subtly, others overtly tied to their Japanese roots.


Concurrently, the Long Beach Museum offers recent single-channel videotapes by American artists who explore in a narrative manner the areas of documentary, science fiction, autobiography, poetry and music or a combination thereof. The artists are: Robert Ashley, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Tony Labat, Meredith Monk, Dan Reeves, Bill Seaman and Woody Vasulka.

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the port of Long Beach, the museum’s director, Stephen Garrett, has organized a show of about 50 photographs, titled “Port People,” which also starts today and runs through Aug. 17. The museum bookshop concurrently offers 25 photographs focusing on artist Richard Fukuhara’s concern with architectural imagery shot in the Los Angeles Area.