Masterpieces in Miniature
Suikerrui 17-19, Antwerp
05/03/2021 – 15/08/2021
After jewelery from the 60s and 70s, it is time for the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert to take over the DIVA museum. This collection is owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, but now travels the world. The first stop is Antwerp. DIVA is also the only place where you can admire the partridge goblet from the collection. This bird forms a nice pair with the owl cup in the permanent collection. So don’t just visit this temporary exhibition, but also take a look at the permanent DIVA collection.
Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert
When you enter the exhibition, you immediately come face to face with Arthur Gilbert (1913 – 2001). The story goes that Arthur met his future wife Rosalinde in a wax museum. They made a fortune in fashion in the 1930s. Meanwhile, Arthur took over his wife’s last name. His original last name was Bernstein, but everywhere he was referred to as Mr. Gilbert.
In 1945 the couple retired and went to California. They remained active in the real estate market, so they made even more money. Arthur and Rosalinde searched for objects for their home and passionately began to collect. They built one of the most complete private collections of ornamental objects.
Arthur bought two paintings in 1969 with, what he thought were, cracks. In reality it was not a painting, but a mosaic with tiny pieces of colored glass. They were made (especially) in Italy in the middle of the 19th century, when people started to travel more and more.
I have to say that I’ve never seen this before. Of course I know a mosaic, but such a fine version was surprising. As the picture above shows, you can barely see it. The hats of the males are made from different pieces of glass! So be sure to take a look and find out for yourself.
Silver and gold
After section with micro mosaics, you are welcomed by a high solid silver (!) Gate. It was once a gate in front of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Kiev. Arthur bought them when the Gilberts were at the start of their collection. Rosalinde was not happy with it, Arthur had to keep them in the garage.
Receive guests in style
For me, the most impressive part of the entire exhibition was this one. In the center is an impressive candlestick weighing 38 kilos. The Gilberts seem to like parties. With such a candlestick and a wine cooler, big enough to bathe a child in, you have pieces that everyone will talk about for years.
Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert had one of the largest collections of snuff boxes. There is a snuff box that was once owned by Nathaniel Dimsdale. Nathaniel pioneered in vaccination together with his father Thomas. The snuff box was given as a gift after Thomas vaccinated the Russian imperial family. Maybe an idea for King Filip?
Masterpieces in Miniature
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