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Bulgari at the de Young Museum.

SAN FRANCISCO —The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to announce The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond 1950–1990, an exhibition of approximately 150 pieces created by the renowned Italian jeweler over four decades. This exclusive exhibition will highlight jewelry that defined a pivotal period in Italian design, and will include many pieces from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor. The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 will be on display at the de Young Museum from September 21, 2013 through February 17, 2014.

Bulgari notably began to create its own trademark in jewelry in the 1960s by embracing boldly-colored combinations of gemstones, use of heavy gold, and forms derived from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th-century Roman school of goldsmiths. The company helped to develop a look that would come to be known as the “Italian school” of jewelry design. Pieces in the exhibition display the jeweler’s eclectic creativity and invention during this period.

Works in the exhibition also include those from the 1970s and 80s, a particularly innovative period for the jeweler and one influenced by Pop Art and other contemporary trends. "The hard-edged designs of the 1970s included a whole range based on the Stars-and-Stripes motif, while in the 1980s the Parentesi collection had a smoother, modular, almost architectural presence; both show how the jeweler could lead in new directions with a strong sense of design,” said Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Bulgari’s successful cultivation of prominent patrons and movie stars like Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, and perhaps most notably, Elizabeth Taylor, has long been a key aspect of the jeweler’s reputation. To help explore the cultural context in which these objects were made, the exhibition will include innovative uses of sketches, photographs, and other archival materials that help to reveal a fascinating intersection of celebrity, design, and fine craftsmanship. 

The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 continues the Fine Arts Museums’ strong track record of exhibitions highlighting the work of decisive figures and movements in the world of fashion and design including:Cartier in AmericaBalenciaga and SpainYves Saint Laurent and The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, among others.

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum

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Bulgari Sautoir, 1972. Gold with yellow and blue sapphires, agate, citrine, and diamonds. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum.Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Bulgari at the de Young Museum. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

 

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Giardinetto brooch, 1959. Gold and platinum with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

 

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Bulgari Snake bracelet-watch, 1967. Gold with yellow and red enamel and rubies. Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma

 

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Bulgari Mount Fuji brooch, 1971. Gold and platinum with mother-of-pearl, polychrome enamel and diamonds.Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma.

 

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A 1973 Bulgari sautoir with sapphires, tigereyes, citrines, and diamonds. Photo courtesy of the de Young Museum.

 

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Bulgari Tremblant brooch, 1962. Platinum with yellow and white diamonds. Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma

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Serpenti watch in gold with coral, emeralds and diamonds, c. 1965. Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte for © Bulgari, Rome

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Carre brooch, 1987. Gold with aquamarines, amethysts, red and green tourmalines, sapphires and diamonds. Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma

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Pendant earrings, 1965. Gold with emeralds, amethysts, turquoise, and diamonds. Formerly in the collection of Lyn Revson. Bulgari Heritage Collection © Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma.

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Bulgari Swan brooch, 1990. Gold with emerald, sapphire, onyx, amethysts, rubies and diamonds. Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma

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Bulgari Bracelet, 1960.Gold with sapphires and diamonds. Photo Antonio Barrella Studio Orizzonte Roma.