Midweek Modness: Vintage Copper Matisse Pendant

I’m a sucker for mid century copper jewellery (even though it turns my skin green). Whilst researching it, I’ve often come across the names of designers who worked almost exclusively with the metal. Two signatures that I’ve read a lot, but never found examples of are Renoir and Matisse. They actually spring from the same creative well — a metalsmith name Jerry Fels. After d-mobbing from the airforce after World War II, and inspired by the American Arts and Crafts movement, he started a company called ‘Renoir of California’ in Los Angeles in 1946. Freeform copper designs were his speciality. In 1952, he started a spinoff line called Matisse. The difference being that most Matisse pieces also featured colourful enamelling.The popularity of these abstract bijoux began to wane in the 1960s. Fels shut Renoir and Matisse down and started fabricating copper sculptures under the name Curtis Jere.

I found this Matisse pendant at the Value Village last Sunday. Judging by glue residue, it’s missing something, most like an enamelled inset. I put a piece I had lying around in it but will diligently search for the proper mate.