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Diane Venet: Collecting Invaluable Love Stories

Aug 8, 2021

TLmag spoke to Diane Venet concerning the exhibition ‘Artists’ jewellery: from Picasso to Koons’, presenting her mesmerizing collection.

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Diane Venet acquired her first piece of artists’ jewelry in New York, 1967. Over the next thirty years her collection grew and now contains more than 200 small, invaluable, works of art. Lucky for us, 180 of them will be on display in the exhibition ‘’Artists’ jewellery: from Picasso to Koons’’ until August 29 at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco. A mesmerizing feast for the art ánd jewelry aficionado. TLmag had the opportunity to speak to Diane Venet, to get to know more about the unique collection and the stories behind it. 

TLmag: Since 1985 you’ve collected jewels of artists, can you tell us more about how you rolled into this niche collector’s item: why jewels of artists? 

Diane Venet (D.V.): Many years ago my husband gave me a ring, a silver bar that he rolled around my finger like a wedding ring. After that, he gave me a bracelet of the artist Fontana he found at a friend of ours. Then a pendant from his friends Arman and Cesar… He actually never thought of a diamond ring. I discovered a world, there were so many intimate stories. So many love stories captivated me and urged me to learn more. 

TLmag: The collection holds many very special items, which is your favorite piece, and can you tell us about how you’ve collected it? 

D.V.: My favorite pieces are the ones I had to look at for a long time, like a very surrealistic Dali brooch or a Man Ray gold mask for example. Next to that are the ones that were done for me and given by the artists close to my heart, my friends. A necklace from Frank Stella, a Chamberlain brooch, a Rauschenberg brooch, a Claude Viallat necklace, a Takis necklace, a Reinoso bracelet, a Serrano ring… To be honest, there are so and so many others I just can’t name them all! 

TLmag: How did you translate your collection into the exhibition, what is the narrative the exhibition tells? 

D.V.: The exhibition was made as a ‘voyage’ along the past 30 years. I lived in New York in a world of artists, I traveled around the world accompanying the exhibitions of my husband – who is also an artist. I decided to exhibit when I realized that very few people knew about those extraordinary emotional miniatures. I keep thinking that a collection should be shared! Keeping these works of art in a safe was meaningless to me. I’ve had shows in 11 museums across the world from New York to Seoul, from Riga to Paris and Monaco.

TLmag: can you tell us a bit more about the curatorial process, how did the exhibition’s narrative translate to the physical space? 

D.V.: It was a challenge to exhibit in the Grimaldi Forum Monaco besides a fabulous retrospective of Giacometti, I worked with their fabulous team. From Catherine Alestchenkoff with whom I share the curating to Fabien Mage and Christine Camatti whom I can’t thank enough for their help and support. Our thinking and acting seemed naturally aligned… separating the themes and years of my long promenade by colors and explicit texts and photos. I also added a few filmed interviews I registered of a few artist friends. 

‘’Artists’ jewellery: from Picasso to Koons’’ is on show at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco from July 11th until August 29.

Cover image: © Photo Bertlle Chéret

Franck STELLA (Malden, 1936 – Massachusetts)   Sans titre, 2009 Collier, métal et peinture or (Pièce unique) Collection Diane Venet  
MAN RAY Optic Topic, 1974 Loup - Gold (Édition Gem GianCarlo Montebello. 79/100) Collection Diane Venet
Alberto Giacometti
Fontana bracelet, Elisse Concetto Spaziale, 1967 Bracelet – Silver and pink lacquer Edition of 150 (Gem GianCarlo Montebello) Collection Diane Venet
Salvador Dalí, Montre petite cuillère, 1957 Broche à cheveux – Or et émail bleu nuit Edition de 6 Collection Diane Venet

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