“I always visit Bulgari because it is the most important museum of contemporary art.”
– Andy Warhol
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The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are showing “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond 1950 – 1990,” an exhibition of approximately 150 pieces created by the renowned Italian jeweler over four decades.
This exclusive exhibition will highlight jewelry that defined a pivotal period in Italian design and will include many pieces from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor.
“The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 1950 – 1990″ will be on display at the de Young Museum through Feb. 17, 2014.
Bulgari notably began to create its own trademark in jewelry in the 1960s by embracing boldly-colored combinations of gemstones, use of heavy gold, and forms derived from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th-century Roman school of goldsmiths.
The company helped to develop a look that would come to be known as the “Italian school” of jewelry design. Pieces in the exhibition display the jeweler’s eclectic creativity and invention during this period.
Works in the exhibition also include those from the 1970s and ’80s, a particularly innovative period for the jeweler and one influenced by Pop Art and other contemporary trends.
“The hard-edged designs of the 1970s included a whole range based on the Stars-and-Stripes motif, while in the 1980s the Parentesi collection had a smoother, modular, almost architectural presence; both show how the jeweler could lead in new directions with a strong sense of design,” said Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Bulgari’s successful cultivation of prominent patrons and movie stars like Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, and perhaps most notably, Elizabeth Taylor, has long been a key aspect of the jeweler’s reputation.
To help explore the cultural context in which these objects were made, the exhibition will include innovative uses of sketches, photographs and other archival materials that help to reveal a fascinating intersection of celebrity, design and fine craftsmanship.
“The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 1950 – 1990″ continues the Fine Arts Museums’ strong track record of exhibitions highlighting the work of decisive figures and movements in the world of fashion and design including: Cartier in America, Balenciaga and Spain, Yves Saint Laurent and The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, among others.
The de Young Museum is in Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in San Francisco.
For more information visit or call 415-750-3600.