Renowned for its brightly colored baubles and distinct Italian flair, the storied Italian jewery house Bulgari will share its most vibrant years in the upcoming exhibit “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond 1950 – 1990″ at the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco beginning September 21, 2013.
‘Bib’ necklace, 1965 – Gold with emeralds, amethysts, turquoise, and diamonds. Courtesy of de Young Museum
Approximately 150 jewels, sketches and photographs will help to paint a lively portrait of the jewelry firm largely credited with pioneering the Italian school of jewelry design. Founded in 1884 by Greek-Italian jeweler Sotirios Vouglaris, Bulgari hit its stride during the post-war boom years in the 1950s and 60s, exuding the extravagant la dolce vita lifestyle. With a stable of famous patrons including Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman and Elizabeth Taylor, Bulgari’s signature style of multicolored precious gemstones in classical Greek and Roman-inspired designs offered a refreshing alternative to the Parisian jewelers’ subdued collections.
‘Playing Card’ sautoir, 1972 – Gold with coral, mother-of-pearl, onyx and diamonds. Courtesy of de Young Museum
In time, Bulgari jewels would become emblematic of the following decades with its eclectic creativity in incorporating Pop Art and other contemporary trends of the time into its jewelry designs. Highlights of the exhibit include jewelry at the heart of Italian jewelry design as well as several pieces from the estate of Elizabeth Taylor.
Necklace, 1961 – Platinum with emeralds and diamonds. Courtesy of de Young Museum
‘Parentesi’ parure, ca. 1982 – Gold with diamonds. Courtesy of de Young Museum
Courtesy of Jewels du Jour and Getty Images