William Ehrlich and Clément Massier: All That Glitters

December 14, 2017 – January 27, 2018

Press Release

Jason Jacques Gallery presents All That Glitters, an exhibition that combines the talents of contemporary designer William Ehrlich and Art Nouveau ceramist Clément Massier (1845-1917).

“The work of Ehrlich and Massier transcend conventional definitions of design, form, and ornamentation,” says Jason T. Busch, director of Jason Jacques Gallery. “Bil’s incomparable jewelry has pride of place beside the iridescent, timeless beauty of the major ceramist Clément Massier, in a jewel box exhibition staged 100 years after Massier’s death.”

William Ehrlich received his architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  Combining his lifelong interests in real estate, art, and design, he has found creative expression in these innovative, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. 

Each of Ehrlich’s designs is drawn and downloaded into an AutoCAD graphic computer program; subsequently, the program drives a laser cutting machine that cuts sheets of metal.  After polishing each piece, the parts are assembled the way a building is constructed with floor plates and columns. Ehrlich plates the work with black rhodium and incorporates precious stones. The generous use of multicolored gems relates to the iridescent glaze pioneered by Massier.  The combination of all these elements results in a technically and visually powerful body of work. 

Says Jason Jacques, principal of his eponymous gallery: “The true Renaissance man is a myth to most non-believers. The world likes to compartmentalize abilities and write them off as a hobbyist when they break the mold and reform themselves. Anyone who sees Bil’s jewelry, or knows him, will vouch for his artistic brilliance. Bil is proof that the myth is real.”

Ehrlich is an avid collector of contemporary art and modern decorative arts. “My collection of Clément Massier ceramics has been assembled over the past 30 years,” says the artist. “It is a daily source of inspiration to which I relate with my own artistic practice.”

Born into a family of ceramists, Clément Massier took an interest in the business from an early age. He began to produce a unique type of luster glaze in his factory-gallery complex in Golfe-Juan, France shortly after settling there in 1883. Massier was awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, and became an official supplier of ceramics to the British crown.

As one of the preeminent collectors of Massier ceramics, William Ehrlich provides a unique point of view to a curated display of the work of the undisputed pioneer of modern French ceramics. All That Glitters brings together seemingly dissimilar yet remarkably related work produced a century apart.

Photography Credit: Len Kaltman and Bobby Doherty

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