Deco dazzlers set to debut

Our March issue, an exploration of design, has a feature on “The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.”

We spoke with curator Sarah Coffin in advance of the exhibition’s April 7 opening at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and look forward to touring the exhibition in person.

And we’re equally excited about “Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: the Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection,” also set to open April 7.

The sneak peek – offered through a selection of images, a handful accompanying this piece – has us dazzled already.

“Jeweled Splendors” will feature more than 100 examples of luxury cigarette and vanity cases, compacts, clocks and other objects in the Carnegie Mansion’s Teak Room – an exotic beauty itself. The pieces will represent the intricate work being done during the period of 1910 to 1938 by the premier jewelry houses of Europe and America, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lacloche Frères, Boucheron and Bulgari.

As Caroline Baumann, Cooper Hewitt’s director, says in the advance materials, “A collection with a rich and storied history, these magnificent works represent the foremost craftsmanship of their era. With exotic motifs exquisitely formed with the finest jewels, metals and precious stones, these boxes, timepieces and jewelry also are virtuosic demonstrations of artistic expressivity and mastery of ancient techniques. Concurrently on view in association with ‘The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s,’ this exhibition offers an unprecedented opportunity to see these objects in the context of the dramatic societal and technological changes impacting the world during this pivotal moment in early modern history.”

The exhibition is featuring personal gifts from Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933–2003) to his wife, Catherine (b. 1938). Born in Paris, Prince Sadruddin was the son of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan and Princess Andrée Aga Khan. Dedicated to public service, he spent nearly 40 years at the United Nations, including a position as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1966 to 1978. In addition to his humanitarian work, Prince Sadruddin was passionate about art, culture and environmental issues.

It sounds like quite a legacy – and collection.

To coincide with the exhibition, Thames & Hudson is publishing “Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection” ($75, hardcover, 256 pages) on April 11. The book, which has arrived in our offices already, is a stunning companion that offers the chance to further explore the collection.

For more, visit or And look for more on “Jeweled Splendors” in April WAG.

– Mary Shustack

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