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Iconic piece of Belgian Art Nouveau jewellery on show to public
Following the King Baudouin Foundation’s purchase of the Medusa pendant by Belgian designer Philippe Wolfers, the exceptional treasure is on public display at the Art & History Museum’s Wolfers Shop in Brussels.
Internationally-renowned jeweller and designer Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929) was one of Belgian Art Nouveau’s emblematic figures, alongside illustrious cohorts Victor Horta, Henry van de Velde and Paul Hankar.
His 1898 pendant Medusa is an iconic and striking work, crafted from gold, enamel, ivory, opal and diamonds. After being in private ownership for many years, the jewel was acquired by the heritage fund of Belgium’s leading philanthropy institution so that it would remain in the country.
The King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) is loaning the pendant to the Cinquantenaire park museum in Brussels, where the Wolfers Shop forms part of the its permanent exhibition.
“Acquiring this piece is a vital addition to the unique collection of jewellery by Philippe Wolfers. Within the group of Wolfers pieces with a symbolic meaning, this is the artist’s absolute masterpiece,” says Werner Adriaenssens, 20th-century decorative arts curator at the Royal Museums of Art and History.
Keeping works in Belgium
The KBF’s Heritage Fund has been actively keeping works of art in Belgium since 1988. It ensures that they are properly looked after them and are brought to the attention of the public. The works and documents that it purchases are given on permanent loan to museums and cultural institutions in Belgium. Over the past 30 years, the fund - with help from many donors - has built up a large, representative collection consisting of around 26,931 works of art and 26 archives.