At the crossroads of old cabinets and modern collections, Yves Gastou’s men’s rings collection exhibited at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts/ L’École des Arts Joailliers avec le soutien de Van Cleef & Arpels is a testament to the fact that curiosity has lost none of its timeliness or appeal. It is a collection like no other, because it is exclusively dedicated to men’s rings.
Male jewelry always echoes a social, political, economic and artistic reality. Much more than an element of adornment, the masculine jewel also represents an instrument of power assertion, a tool of communication and a fashion accessory. The function of male jewelry is necessarily affected by societal evolutions as is the relationship between men and coquetry.
Overshadowed by the female pageantry, the male ring finally arrived in the spotlight thanks to Paris gallerist Yves Gastou and the Men’s Ring exhibition running at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts until November 30, 2018.
The exhibition is showcasing an array of 500 rings ranging from: the rings of 17th century Venice doges, to American biker rings of the 1970s, ancient Egyptian rings to 19th century “memento mori” skull rings, 18th century enameled rings, to rings by contemporary artists….
Yves Gastou is an artist; as such, his collection is an expression of his creativity.
Yves Gastou is a key figure in the life of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, a neighborhood where he has lived and worked as a renowned antique dealer for over thirty years. A pioneering antique dealer, he will be the first of his generation to confront the French and Italian furniture of the 40s-50s and 70s with the emblematic pieces from the 80s by artists of the likes of Sottsass, Mendini, to Kuramata.
Yves Gastou has created this collection of rings with accumulation, frenzy, relentlessness and risk-taking within over thirty years, over the course of his usual haggling (in flea markets, public sales, jeweler’s inventory sales, workshops sales), but also from his travels.
Rich with more than a thousand rings from varied origins and ages, Yves Gastou’s collection, for all its originality and personality, carries with it the history of collecting which dates back several centuries.With antique rings from ancient Egypt, rings belonging to 17th century doges or American bikers from the 1970s, the ensemble is as much a collection of ancient times as a modern collection.
The most emblematic pieces of this collection were showcased as part of a scenography conceived by interior designer Jérôme Thénot, whose talent was used to restore the gothico-mystical universe of Yves Gastou. The choice of rings is representative of the seven themes of the collection while illustrating its diversity: neoclassical, chivalry, Gothic, religious, vanities, ethnic, oddities.