Line Vautrin’s ravishing costume jewels and sculpted objets are the epitome of Parisian Neo-Romantic chic. Most of her treasured items were made in the forties and fifties, of resins, glass and bronze. Vautrin’s creations do not belong to any of the traditional genres of jewelry. They are little miracles of inventiveness, of subtle skill and endless experimentation. There is a love of the primitive, repeated motifs, patterns and fine attention to detail in every piece.
Line Vautrin was born on April 28th 1913 in Paris to a family of metal founders. Even as a small child she was fascinated by her father’s business. By 14 she had mastered some of the skills of casting, chasing and gilding. Unfortunately her father also died that year. At 15, she hit upon the idea, then quite novel, of making artistic costume jewelry. She never received a formal art education, she just had a good working knowledge of her craft and was not afraid to experiment.
Her first job was with Schiaparelli as the official “greeter”, welcoming customers with a “Good morning” or “Good afternoon”. She lasted four days. After that she worked for a few weeks as a sales representative for industrial photographs before deciding to strike out on her own. From that time on, she was her own boss. Line began to design bracelets and set out as a door to door saleswoman. While her designs were popular, she struggled to make ends meet but she also continued to experiment with different materials.
The turning point was when she exhibited at the Paris International Exposition of 1937. She attracted enough of a clientele that she was able to open a small shop “the cupboard” on the Rue de Berri.
Line Vautrin drew inspiration from universal themes: love, friendship, the four elements, the four seasons, good/evil, masculine/feminine, moon/sun, yin and yang and gold/silver. She also always employed her unique sense of humor and her love of poetry.
The manufacturing and launching of her boxes and tins are what made her famous. Not content with developing a new technique and inventing novel shapes, she had fun creating conundrums, codes and rebuses inspired by famous legends and by love. She let her imagination run wild and delighted in combining sections of poems, proverbs and popular expressions into riddles.
She was an independent woman, innovator and artist that was way ahead of her time. Line Vautrin died on April 12, 1997.
To see a wide collection of Line Vautrin’s items, head to;
Here are some of my favorite pieces. I hope you appreciate them as much as I do.
“Ophelia”. A bronze doré box.
“That’s life”. A bronze doré box with red enamel.
“Sign language”. A bronze argenté box.
“Face Powder and Masquerade Balls”. A rare bronze argenté bracelet.
“Duck Head”. A pair of bronze doré cufflinks.
“I am silently in love with you”. A bronze argenté and doré box.