Laurence Graff, billionaire owner of Graff diamonds and a passionate art collector, believes in the synergy of art and jewellery.
Laurence Graff OBE, chairman of Graff diamonds, is one of the foremost collectors of 20th century modern and contemporary art. His stellar collection includes masterpieces by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as works by US post-war master Cy Twombly.
Twombly, whose contemporaries included Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, is said to have influenced younger artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Julian Schnabel. His work is found in the permanent collections of the world’s top museums such as the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and he was commissioned for the ceiling at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Twombly’s style is described as calligraphic, free and “truculently difficult and discomfiting to critics”, by curator Kirk Varnedoe.
But for Graff, the beauty of Twombly’s work was such that he wanted to honour it in diamonds. A new collection called Inspired by Twombly forms a tribute to the master.
“I find the work of Cy Twombly, and other artists in his oeuvre such as Christopher Wool, whose art forms another part of my collection, incredibly inspiring,” says Graff. “Their painting style is filled with an urgent intensity that I find quite intoxicating. Twombly’s large-scale artworks featuring graffiti-like scribbles are really quite breath-taking.
“Since the early days of Graff, art has inspired some of the house’s most expressive jewels and I am fortunate that our designers share my passion,” he adds. “There is a great synergy between the worlds of art and jewellery.”
The large, looping, ‘free scribbles’ of Twombly, who died in 2011, informed the starting point for the designers at Graff, who envisaged a collection where the spontaneity of the artwork — the impromptu line animating the pieces — is painted in scintillating gemstones.
Playing with the proportions of the loops, bringing a uniquely feminine aesthetic to the collection, the earrings and bracelets have a naturalistic feel. Fluid loops are set with round and invisibly set emerald cut diamonds to form elaborate, sculptural ribbons of stones, mirroring the exuberant Twombly doodles.
Exploring the notion of never-ending swirls, the Inspired by Twombly bracelet is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship. Seemingly infinite, the loops of diamonds create a three-dimensional spiral of light on the wrist.
Mirroring the flow of paint on canvas, Graff’s makers hand set baguette cut rubies and diamonds invisibly so that free-flowing forms daubed on Twombly’s vast canvases become seamless swirls of gems. The sense of unbridled freedom one feels looking at Twombly’s large-scale artworks is captured in a pair of dramatic ruby and diamond earrings that spiral sensationally downwards, culminating in a radiant pear-shaped ruby.
This is not the first time Graff has re-imagined his art collection in diamonds. Graff’s design team was also inspired by Italian artist Paolo Scheggi’s works when creating the Luna collection, and Russian painter and art theoretician Kazimir Malevich for the abstract creations collection.
The Twombly collection is all one-of-a-kind-pieces with prices available on request.
This article originally appeared in Billionaire's Art Issue, June 2019. To subscribe contact
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