A Van Cleef & Arpels Necklace Inspired by Spellbinding Art

Van Cleef & Arpels has taken inspiration from hypnotic swirls to evoke a piece of both chaste geometry and prismatic psychedelia.

Article by Nancy Hass

Van Cleef & Arpels Éclipse Solaire necklaceVan Cleef & Arpels Éclipse Solaire necklace. Photography by Anthony Cotsifas.

After a decade-long focus on kinetic works, the artist Marcel Duchamp brought to the 1935 Paris invention trade fair Concours Lépine a set of “Rotoreliefs” — lithographed spirals on paperboard disks made to spin on a turntable as entertainment. They flopped at the exhibition, but his experiments had already affected filmmakers such as Jean Cocteau, who used a rotating disk in his 1932 film, “The Blood of a Poet”, and Man Ray, with whom Duchamp collaborated (along with the photographer Marc Allégret) on “Anemic Cinema”, a 1926 six-minute fantasia of gyroscopic imagery and text.

Duchamp never did figure out how to bring such 3D illusions to the masses, but his investigations into depth perception and movement helped define the aesthetic imagination for decades. Now, for a convertible series of necklaces, Van Cleef & Arpels, the 116-year-old Paris-based jeweller, has taken inspiration from both the hypnotic swirls of the “Rotoreliefs” and “The Seven Bodies”, a 2017 neo-Op Art work by the Brazilian-born, Brooklyn-based Bruno Penabranca. The artists’ trippy influences are evident in the rose-gold and onyx rays forming the central motif of the necklace, which can be transformed into a brooch or a choker. With a shimmering pale pink morganite sun at the centre and a whimsical tassel of onyx and red spinels, it embodies an invigorating combination: one of chaste geometry and prismatic psychedelia.