Neckpiece for Picasso's 'Portrait of a woman'

Necklace
1988 (made), 1987 (designed)
Neckpiece for Picasso's 'Portrait of a woman' thumbnail 1
Neckpiece for Picasso's 'Portrait of a woman' thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Wendy Ramshaw is a leading and internationally renowned artist jeweller, who never ceases to experiment with a diverse range of materials and new technologies. She first trained in illustration and textile design. Her early jewellery, made in the early 1960s with her husband David Watkins, used screen-printed acrylic and paper. In about 1970 she turned to working in silver and gold, rapidly establishing a distinctive minimalist style influenced by modernism and industrial design.

Over ten years Wendy Ramshaw designed her collection titled 'Picasso's Ladies'. She designed one or more jewels for each of the 66 portraits women that played an important role in Picasso's life as wives, mistresses and friends he fell in love with. It is the emotional content and range of emotions portrayed in these images that inspired her. But also the huge repertoire of styles and working methods of the great master initiated the idea for the collection.

In Ramshaw's publication on the 'Picasso's Ladies' collection she describes in her personal artist's notes this neckpiece, as follows: 'Portrait of a Woman'. This image of Françoise Gilot was drawn on July 5th 1946, and is one of at least two drawings made that day. In late April 1946, Françoise Gilot went to live with Picasso in his Paris studio, and during the summer months, she became the subject of a series of 10 lithographs. The image of this lovely young woman is 'other world', untouchable and beautiful. In the neckpiece I have responded to the pencil drawing by using blackened silver. The oxidised lines embrace a number of dissimilar elements inspired directly by the Picasso drawing. One of the elements is like a large rigid feather, another a black cloud suspended amongst zigzags, and a spiral with a terminal. In an abstract manner I have tried to suggest particular forms from nature, e.g. the spiraling hair might contain a leaf or suggest a shell. In keeping with the surrealist and magical element of the drawing, the missing eye appears on the neckpiece, softly rendered into the third dimension. If placed on the drawn image, would combine the marks of the pencil and surround the head like a ring of complex drawn lines.'


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Patinated silver and Colorcore
Brief Description
Neckpiece by Wendy Ramshaw, London 1988. Inspired by a drawing that Picasso did of Francoise Gilot in 1946
Dimensions
  • Height: 36cm
  • Width: 33cm
  • Depth: 1.1cm
Credit line
Acquired with funds from the Yorke-Radleigh Bequest
Object history
A material developed by Formica International Limited as the company became more involved in promoting its products for design-conscious markets, ColorCore was a material in which the surface colour permeates through the main body, extending its possible uses in furniture and other applications. The company also developed the Color+Color range of 108 solid colours in six major groups of varying shades and hues, allowing users to specify their requirements with increasing precision. A number of prestigious design competitions using the material were initiated in the mid-1980s with tours of prestigious galleries throughout the United States. ColorCore became a material widely used by avant-garde furniture designers in the 1980s and 1990s.
Summary
Wendy Ramshaw is a leading and internationally renowned artist jeweller, who never ceases to experiment with a diverse range of materials and new technologies. She first trained in illustration and textile design. Her early jewellery, made in the early 1960s with her husband David Watkins, used screen-printed acrylic and paper. In about 1970 she turned to working in silver and gold, rapidly establishing a distinctive minimalist style influenced by modernism and industrial design.



Over ten years Wendy Ramshaw designed her collection titled 'Picasso's Ladies'. She designed one or more jewels for each of the 66 portraits women that played an important role in Picasso's life as wives, mistresses and friends he fell in love with. It is the emotional content and range of emotions portrayed in these images that inspired her. But also the huge repertoire of styles and working methods of the great master initiated the idea for the collection.



In Ramshaw's publication on the 'Picasso's Ladies' collection she describes in her personal artist's notes this neckpiece, as follows: 'Portrait of a Woman'. This image of Françoise Gilot was drawn on July 5th 1946, and is one of at least two drawings made that day. In late April 1946, Françoise Gilot went to live with Picasso in his Paris studio, and during the summer months, she became the subject of a series of 10 lithographs. The image of this lovely young woman is 'other world', untouchable and beautiful. In the neckpiece I have responded to the pencil drawing by using blackened silver. The oxidised lines embrace a number of dissimilar elements inspired directly by the Picasso drawing. One of the elements is like a large rigid feather, another a black cloud suspended amongst zigzags, and a spiral with a terminal. In an abstract manner I have tried to suggest particular forms from nature, e.g. the spiraling hair might contain a leaf or suggest a shell. In keeping with the surrealist and magical element of the drawing, the missing eye appears on the neckpiece, softly rendered into the third dimension. If placed on the drawn image, would combine the marks of the pencil and surround the head like a ring of complex drawn lines.'
Bibliographic Reference
Wendy Ramshaw (ed.), Picasso' Ladies, Jewellery from Wendy Ramshaw, Stuttgart 1998, no. 2 and p. 157 (artist's note), drawing for the necklace illustrated on p. 13.
Collection
Accession Number
M.29-1998

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record createdMarch 22, 1999
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