Enfilade

Exhibition | Treasures from the Gilbert Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 1, 2021

Oval green snuffbox associated with Frederick the Great, ca. 1765, Berlin; chrysoprase, gold, hardstones, and foiled diamonds
(London: V&A, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection)

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Opening this week at Antwerp’s DIVA museum for diamonds, jewellery, and silver:

Masterpieces in Miniature: Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection
DIVA, Antwerp, 5 March — 15 August 2021
Additional international venues to be announced

Curated by Alice Minter and Jessica Eddie

From March 5th to August 15th 2021, DIVA will host the touring exhibition Masterpieces in Miniature: Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. This is the first time items from all categories of the Gilbert Collection will go on display on the European continent. Some objects, such as the sixteenth-century partridge cup, are exclusive to the Antwerp exhibition. Masterpieces in Miniature is an ode to Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert’s impressive legacy and a chance for the public to admire these treasures up close.

Visitors will make the acquaintance of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert and come to understand their collecting habits, traveling with them in search of exceptional craftsmanship and beauty and encountering famous historical figures such as Catharine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Queen Victoria. The showpieces include a snuffbox belonging to Frederick the Great of Prussia, made of chrysoprase, a rare gemstone mined in Silesia and set with hardstones and diamonds, the latter coloured by placing them over pale-pink, green, and lemon-coloured metal foils.

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection is a homage to exquisitely crafted objects, many in precious metals and often small in scale. The Gilberts spent over forty years amassing their collection of nearly 1000 items of fine silverware, gold (snuff)boxes, enamels, and mosaics made in Europe between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. Their passion for craftsmanship and beauty resulted in a collection that is unparalleled today.

Arthur (1913–2001) and Rosalinde Gilbert (1913–1995) made their first fortune in the fashion industry in London in the 1930s. They swapped London for their newly designed villa in Beverly Hills and set up a successful property development business in America. A second success story soon followed. Their search for ‘beautiful things’ to decorate their home soon developed into a passion for collecting. The couple travelled the world looking for mosaics and the very best gold, silver, and enamel objects.

The desire to share their collection with others by putting it on public display was of real importance to the couple. In the 1970s the collection went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, before being transferred to Somerset House in London in 2000 and from there to its current home at the V&A. This is the first time items from all categories of the Gilbert Collection will go on display on the European continent. The collection will travel on from here to America and Asia.

Dries Otten (°1978) has been commissioned to design the set for Masterpieces in Miniature. The Antwerp-based interior architect, furniture and set designer is famous for his playful use of colour with historical references. He has already designed exhibition sets for the TextielMuseum, Bozar, and Texture.

Curators
Alice Minter, Curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, V&A
Jessica Eddie, Assistant Curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, V&A

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