I believe that art distracts us from everyday life. Living with art enables us to live in high spheres and it is a major quality of life,” says Dr. Friedrich Wille, CEO of Freywille, a Viennabased jewelry manufacturer founded in 1951. “Van Gogh’s life is very fascinating. His art is especially fascinating, focusing on nature and his approach to philosophy.”
Known for their precious fire enamel jewelry and original techniques — created by a team of experts in the 1980s — Freywille has produced multiple collections inspired by van Gogh, from his iconic Sunflowers series to his Starry Night masterpiece.
Van Gogh’s expressive paintings of still lifes, landscapes and portraits — relatable subject matter— in bright, beautiful and dramatic color palettes have kept his paintings a universal symbol of artistic beauty, even in contemporary day. Employing expressive brushstrokes through thick impasto oil paint application, van Gogh and his works were principal for Post-Impressionism, later influencing subsequent movements such as Expressionism. Coupled with his fame in art history and master icon status, it is no surprise that the artist’s works serve as subjects of inspiration for high-end jewelry manufacturers. “Artistic design is the focus of every piece of Freywille jewelry. Each new collection is preceded by continuous inspiration and original research in art history. Whether independently drawn collections, or homage collections of world-renowned artists, each detail is the result of passionate design and careful research,” says Wille. “In the case of Vincent van Gogh, our designers studied his special painting technique and transferred it into enamel also to keep the flow in the core values of the original artwork.”
Available in rings, bangles, pendants, and earrings, Freywille’s depictions of van Gogh’s works have been manipulated slightly in order to adapt the painting effortlessly into jewelry pieces without losing the special character of the original work. “We are preliminarily influenced by the original colors of the artist, but we have to add and change colors to make it decorative art, which we require in our jewelry designs. In the design Eternite (an ode to Starry Night), we include the gold very visibly in the movements of the stars and the aura of the moon to destress the view in the eternite.”
Another brand inspired by van Gogh’s paintings — particularly his series of sunflower still lifes, an iconic image associated most closely with the artist to this day — is New York City-based jewelry maker Alex Soldier. “I’ve always been mesmerized by van Gogh’s Sunflowers as they reflect life’s vibrancy and intensity and that’s what my Sunflower collection is all about,” says Soldier.
Handmade in New York City, the pieces from Alex Soldier’s Sunflower collection boast a combination of 18 karat white, yellow and rose gold studded with color diamonds. The three-dimensional manifestation of van Gogh’s sunflower studies are available in the forms of rings and necklaces, where the leaves of the flowers curve around the bend of the ring or the chain of the necklace, as well as brooches, pendants and earrings that bear the single sunflower bloom. “I breathe life into each one of my creations and they all tell their own unique story, starting from the materials used to the final outcome of visual and conceptual intricacy and detail,” says Soldier.
Another jewelry designer and manufacturer producing stunning jewelry products inspired by the famous Dutch painter is American designer Erwin Pearl, who has been making fashion jewelry since 1952. With official seals of approval from The Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam, each piece of van Gogh-inspired jewelry by Erwin Pearl is packaged with a biography and a photo of the painting that the piece was based upon.
“Erwin Pearl has always admired the Post- Impressionist works of Vincent van Gogh. He felt that, for the art to be translated accurately, we would have to pay particular attention to details,” says Michael McGratty, vice president of sales for Erwin Pearl Inc.
The company has a vast collection portraying van Gogh classics, everything from his aforementioned series to his other flower studies such as Irises and Almond Blossoms, to even his ominous Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette painting. “The actual brushstrokes of these paintings are portrayed on the jewelry,” says McGratty. “It has been a labor of love making these beautiful collectible pieces.”
By Samantha Myers
This article originally appeared in Homes & Estates magazine.