Agenda: 125 Years of Bulgari

BULGARI. From History to Eternity 1884-2009. 125 years of Italian Jewellery | 22 May – 13 September 2009 at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Via Nazionale, 194, Rome Italy

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fYears of research in the Bulgari archives have come to fruition with an in-depth look at the history of this extraordinary brand and what it represents in the world today. The assembly and analysis of historical documents has enabled us to reconstruct a remarkable story that spans centuries and international borders, tracing the course for the taste of innovation and detail that has become an unmistakable style in its own right.
Bulgari occupies a significant chapter in the history of jewellery making, which begins with Sotirio Bulgari, the company’s founder. The uniqueness of his vision; the originality of his incorporation of classical Greece and Rome into the ethos of his own time; the boldess of his journey, like a modern-day Odyssey, that would take him to Corfu and Naples and finally to the capital of the newly unified Italian Republic, have even older and deeper roots.

Until the early decades of the 20th century, Bulgari was an advocate of the Art Déco movement that was destined to change the taste of the entire Western world and from that point forward has continued to introduce key technical and aesthetic innovations to the field. After the extravagance of the fifties and the chromatic renaissance of the following decade, Bulgari captured the glamour that lay at the heart of the Pop Art movement during the seventies, and then changed the way we make and think about jewellery yet again in the wild eighties by introducing the prêt-à-porter concept to the luxury sector.

In more recent years, long and tireless research has culminated in the creation of an historical archive and a permanent collection of landmark Bulgari jewels which recount and explain the monograph that is Bulgari’s rich history.
This massive effort required the reorganization of a cultural heritage comprising many thousands of documents, photographs and original sketches, along with selecting and locating the finest Bulgari creations of the past 125 years, many of which had to be tracked down and reacquired with no small amount of difficulty.

The exhibition, which opens in Rome in late spring, will celebrate both the founder and the history shared by Bulgari and the Eternal City. Moreover, 2009 marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of the first Bulgari shop in Rome. It is here that a new vision began to grow and spread. The Palazzo delle Esposizioni, built just a few hundred meters from the places where the young Sotirio Bulgari, in those same years, established his reputation as a master jeweller, will display 400 of the best jewels, watches and decorative objects produced by Bulgari throughout its history. The majority have never been seen before in public, having spent decades in private collections and safes. Additional works from the private Bulgari Vintage Collection will also be exhibited, alongside drawings, historic documents and photographs of famous clients: businessmen, aristocrats, artists, film stars.

Contents: Palazzo delle Esposizioni | Images: 1. The 0,60 euro commemorative poststamp that Poste Italiane will send out on April 24th is part of the ”Made in Italy” collection and reproduces a yellow gold and platinum necklace dated 1965 with diamonds, emeralds, amethysts and turquoises. 2. Windows of the Bulgari store on 5th ave, New York City, reproducing the original Art Déco graphics and typography.

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