The alliance of Georges Fouquet and Alfons Mucha produced a piece of unparalleled grace, whose flight was as successful as expected.
Georges Fouquet (1862-1957), Ailes (Wings) gold necklace decorated with butterfly wings inlaid with opal and tortoiseshell, in the center a pattern enhanced with diamond roses, emeralds and an aquamarine, topped by a crown of pearls and opals, all holding diamond-studded jointed blades and a fine baroque pearl in a pendant, 1902, 14 x 13 cm/5.51 x 5.52 in; 76.60 gr/2.70 oz.
The light, diaphanous, opalescent "Ailes" (Wings) pendant in gold, tortoiseshell, diamonds, emeralds, pearls and gemstones told its own story of the highly productive collaboration between jeweler Georges Fouquet (1862-1957) and talented, versatile Alfons Mucha (1860-1939), which began at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. When it went up for sale it certainly took flight, finally landing at €195,776. In its design, look and choice of materials—not simply precious stones, but a bold and intriguing association of ornamental varieties, organic matter and enamel—, this piece encapsulates all the inventiveness of the Art Nouveau movement. We can see why it spread like wildfire throughout Europe and is as fascinating as ever more than a century on.