Active during the late 19th century and early 20th century, Fuset Y Grau produced some exquisite jewels in the Spanish art nouveau style.
Jewellery Maker Profile: Fuset y Grau
Love for History
Based in Barcelona, Fuset Y Grau’s work shares qualities of their famous contemporary and compatriot Lluis Masriera. Both share a sensibility for the romance of the Renaissance. Medieval motifs, such as long haired damsels, and scrolling and sinuous foliage are rendered in the Avant Garde style of the day. Characteristic of the movement, an emphasis for the decorative pervades Fuset y Grau’s distinctive pieces. In 1925 Fuset Y Grau exhibited in the Paris Decorative Arts Exhibition.
Although there is little published material of the firm’s founders, their pieces are sort after by discerning collectors. The mystery of the founders, perhaps adding to the appeal of the masterfully rendered jewels.
In 2010, a large gem-set pendant was auctioned at Sotheby’s, London. Dated c. 1920, the pendant was signed Fuset y Grau. It is an exemplary piece of the firm’s revivalist style.
In the centre of the shield shaped pendant stands a woman blowing bubbles made from pearls. She is framed by an elaborate window like background, festooned with scrolling acanthus leaves interspersed with sapphires and diamonds. Her limbs are carved from ivory and her flowing dress and hair are moulded from delicate gold. She stands in profile before a lattice-work of blue and red Plique-a-jour enamel.
Blurring the Lines
The pendant, like so much of Art Nouveau jewellery, blurs the line between sculpture and jewellery. The large, elaborately decorated pendant is worthy of being termed a wearable work of art that is begging to be looked at more than worn. It exceeded Sotheby’s estimate of £7000-10,000, with the hammer price of £23,750.
Other Fuset y Grau pieces have sold at auction for high prices in the last decade, reflecting the lasting value of well made and inventive designs.