Exceptional and rare Art Nouveau pendant/brooch, circa 1915 by Lluis Masriera. Set on 18kt gold in the form of a phoenix in a ruby set frame, with enamel plumage a diamond suspended from its feet.
12 grams gross weight, 4.8cm total height.
Lluís Masriera i Rosés was born in Barcelona in 1872 to the famous painter Josep Masriera, who was also a well-known silversmith and, along with his brother Francesc Masriera, he ran the family jewelry business started by his father, José Masriera i Vidal. Lluís Masriera started in his family’s workshop and created pieces with the same aesthetic and precision that the workshop had always been known for; one which highlighted technical perfection but little creativity
In 1889, Masriera went to study at the Academy of Beaux Arts in Geneva where he was taught by the famous enameller, Edward Lossier The geographic positioning afforded him the opportunity to travel to Paris often and frequent the salons. It was in these legendary meetings that Masriera was introduced to the idea of Art Nouveau and the work of René Lalique.
In 1900, at the age of eighteen, Masriera returned to Barcelona and was named the new artistic director of the family workshop and changed the direction and style of the jewelry that was produced. Inspired by Lalique’s designs, Masriera melted down all the family’s existing jewelry stock in order to utilize the raw materials to redesign the pieces into his new style/aesthetic: Modernisme. The total inventory overhaul was completed in six months. The new collection debuted on the Saint Thomas day in 1901 and the pieces “’were immediately successful and sold out in a single week.’”
Masriera continued to create Modernisme pieces until 1913, when he stated in a famous essay, The Fall of Modernism, that “Modernism [was] dead.” After Art Nouveau had fallen out of favor, Masriera moved on to the Noucentisme school of design which embraced classical, timeless design elements until his death in 1958.