Reverso Tribute Enamel Pays Tribute to Visionary Painter Alfons Mucha

  1. Jeremy
  2. November 6, 2018 8:59 am

Reverso Tribute Enamel Pays Tribute to Visionary Painter Alfons Mucha

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Jaeger-LeCoultre has long maintained an ardent interest in painting and art history. The Reverso Tribute Enamel collection pays homage to the illustrious painters who share the values of the Grande Maison. Each Reverso Tribute Enamel watch has been crafted by our artisans to offer a front dial finely guilloché by hand and covered with translucent Grand Feu enamel, twinned with a reverse face featuring an enameled miniature of a painting inspired by an exceptional painter, Alfons Mucha.

For this collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre has drawn inspiration from “The Seasons”, the artist’s emblematic 1896 series of decorative panels, to decorate three different models of the Reverso Tribute Enamel—each in a limited series of eight pieces.

The front face of each watch has been worked in guilloché of remarkable quality. Finely crafted by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master engraver, this guilloché requires extremely complex artisanal skills and a machine that dates back a hundred years. On this face, a sunburst guilloché appears in relief under the deep color of its transparent enameling. Each color required hours of research to achieve its perfectly even hue and to ensure it harmonizes with the colors of the painting reproduced on the reverse of the case.

When the watch is turned over, a veritable masterpiece reveals itself on the caseback. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rare Handcrafts “Métiers Rares” master enameler faces multiple challenges in creating each of the three miniatures that feature on the reverse.

Much of the complexity lies in working by hand to scale the original painting—measuring over a meter—onto a surface of 3 cm2, during the very process of enameling. The reproduction needs to be as faithful as possible but using different tools and materials from the ones Mucha used. For instance, the master enameler must painstakingly seek to reproduce the Czech artist’s rich palette, despite having only a restricted number of colors to work with.

Another challenge is the need to anticipate what color the result will be, and employ darker shades than the original because the various protective layers that are applied subsequently over the design will alter the painting’s color intensity. Internationally celebrated Czech artist Mucha is inextricably associated with the image of the 1900 Paris. He is best known for his distinctive stylized theatrical posters that epitomize Art Nouveau. Alfons Mucha has often inspired Jaeger-LeCoultre’s creativity—leading to the Reverso “The Seasons” in 1996, Reverso “Precious Gemstones” in 1999, and Reverso “Clair de Lune” in 2001. “The Seasons” (1896) was one of Mucha’s earliest decorative panels and became one of his most popular series.

As well as being a great poster artist, Mucha was also a visionary; an exhibition tracing his story is on at the Musée du Luxembourg until January 27, 2019.

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