Epoque Fine Jewels
A unique Art Nouveau 'Glycines' choker
A unique Art Nouveau 'Glycines' choker by Philippe Wolfers, composed of five alternating wisteria set with carved watermelon tourmaline and carved opal, between purple and green plique-à-jour enamel leaf clusters, within a scrolling garnet and ruby frame of a familiar Art Nouveau whiplash design. Brussels, circa 1901-1902.
Sophie Willstädter, wife of Philippe Wolfers, became the owner of this ‘Glycines’ necklace. The Wolfers archives mention her name as the ‘buyer’ on several pieces designed by her husband, such as the ‘Libellules’ Ring and the ‘Cygne et Serpents’ pendant.
The ‘Glycines’ choker later appeared in the collection of the Wittamer – De Camps family, who owned a reknowned ‘haute-couture’ business on the Avenue Louise in Brussels (1933- 1976). They had an extensive art collection and a passionate relationship with Art Nouveau which led to the meticulous restoration of the House Solvay, built by Victor Horta, which housed their atelier. They were important collectors and promotors of artistic jewelry and probably the first to start collecting Art Nouveau jewelry in Belgium.
BRUSSELS 1902, ANTWERP 1903, BRUSSELS 1903, BRUSSELS 1965, HOKAIDO-TOKYO-FUKUOKA-ITAMI 1988, GENT 2006-2007.
The reverse surface of the necklace bears the monogram PW for Philippe Wolfers and mentions ‘Ex:unique’ which means that the work is a unique piece (Exemplaire unique). These unique pieces were marked “Ex:unique” to distinguish them from jewelry made by his family’s firm Wolfers Frères. Each unique piece was written down in a register, the ‘Catalogue des Exemplaires Uniques’, a very valuable register which originally served for Philippe Wolfers personal use.
The ‘Glucines’ necklace is number 126 of the ‘Catalogue des Exemplaires Uniques’. The piece was designed between 28/8/1900 and 19/07/1901 and executed before 18/01/1902. It is numbers 108 and 111 of the workshop archive.