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Cooper-Hewitt Sets Record with Van Cleef Exhibition, Closes Doors for Renovations

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Diamonds may be forever, but this past weekend, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum ended its 20-week run of “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.” Over 172,000 visitors passed through the exhibition, breaking the museum's record for previous attendance.

The record marks another watershed moment for NYC museums, whose attendance figures have been in decline in recent years. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently reported it had also broken its record for attendance with its “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition, which closes on August 7. The show has so far drawn 400,000 visitors.

Exploring both design and innovation, “Set in Style” featured over 350 works from the renowned jewelry firm Van Cleef & Arpels, including jewels, timepieces, and drawings and documents from the firm’s archives. The show ended just as the museum embarks on a two-year design and innovation initiative of its own that will leave the Cooper-Hewitt's doors closed till 2013.

Over the next two years, the Cooper-Hewitt will see a series of expansions and renovations as part of a $64 million capital campaign. In addition to increasing its gallery space by 60 percent, the museum will be improving upon education programming, the National Design Library and other elements of the Carnegie Mansion, which is the museum’s main facility.

In the interim renovation period, the Cooper-Hewitt will proceed with its usual schedule of exhibitions, education programs and events at a number of off-site locations.

The museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and the Shop at Cooper-Hewitt will remain open through the summer with free admission.

Click below to browse images of both the installation and the pieces themselves.

Over 172,000 people passed through the Cooper-Hewitt to view
Matt Flynn/Smithsonian Institution
Over 172,000 people passed through the Cooper-Hewitt to view "Set In Style."
The exhibition's 20-week run broke attendance records for the museum.
Matt Flynn/Smithsonian Institution
The exhibition's 20-week run broke attendance records for the museum.
This 1926 Van Cleef & Arpels piece, entitled
Patrick Gries/Van Cleef & Arpels
This 1926 Van Cleef & Arpels piece, entitled "Roses nécessaire," is made of gold, mauve jade, rubies, enamel, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds.
Patrick Gries/Van Cleef & Arpels
This 1976 Van Cleef diamond, platinum and gold tiara was worn by H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco.
This 1976 Van Cleef diamond, platinum and gold tiara was worn by H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco.
Another view of the exhibition displays a wall of wonder.
Matt Flynn/Smithsonian Institution
Another view of the exhibition displays a wall of wonder.
An even closer look at the work of renown jewelry firm Van Cleef & Arpels.
Matt Flynn/Smithsonian Institute
An even closer look at the work of renown jewelry firm Van Cleef & Arpels.
This 1971 brooch, which features yellow gold, sapphires, and yellow and white diamonds, was owned by Ganna Walska.
Patrick Gries/Van Cleef & Arpels
This 1971 brooch, which features yellow gold, sapphires, and yellow and white diamonds, was owned by Ganna Walska.
This 1970 gold goddess head brooch sparkles with rubies, turquoise, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds.
Lucien Capehart Photography Inc.
This 1970 gold goddess head brooch sparkles with rubies, turquoise, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds.
More pieces from the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt.
Matt Flynn/Smithsonian Institution
More pieces from the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt.
A watercolor drawing featuring a passe-partout chain necklace/belt with floral clips was among the pieces in the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition.
Courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Musem/Van Cleef & Arpels
A watercolor drawing featuring a passe-partout chain necklace/belt with floral clips was among the pieces in the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition.
Van Cleef & Arpels designed this peony brooch, fashioned from gold, platinum, diamonds and Mystery Set rubies, in 1937.
Patrick Gries/Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels designed this peony brooch, fashioned from gold, platinum, diamonds and Mystery Set rubies, in 1937.
This 1945 lace bow knot brooch features yellow gold, platinum and diamonds.
Patrick Gries/Van Cleef & Arpels
This 1945 lace bow knot brooch features yellow gold, platinum and diamonds.

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