Munich; “Thomas Gentille – An American Jeweller”at Die Neue Sammlung

by Venetia Kapernekas

A fabulous exhibition at the Die Neue Sammlung ( The Design Museum, Munich) opened few weeks ago “Untitled. Thomas Gentille. American Jeweler”.  American Thomas Gentile  a leading studio jewelery artist in his first comprehensive exhibition on his oeuvre.  Die Neue Sammlung is presenting  190 jewelery objects and over 90 sketches supplemented by a film on the second floor of the Rotunda in Pinakothek der Moderne. Conception and curation of the exhibition: Dr Petra Hölscher. The exhibition will run through June 5 and is accompanied by a beautiful book by Arnoldsche Art Publishers.

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Thomas Gentille, Pin, 20th century
Cherry, maple
Back: Industrial pins (h. 16.2 cm, b. 4.3 cm, d. 0.6 cm)
Photo: Eva Jünger

It is a body of work to be conceived in its entirety, in which Gentille has developed over six decades without hierarchy or genealogy; he  refrains from providing any kind of information on dates.  Gentle  favors innovative plastics, solid aluminium  wide variety of woods, papier-mâché, sawdust, silk threads, old glass spheres hand blown in Bohemia and air – over gold, silver and precious stones.

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Thomas Gentille, Armlet, 20th century
Acrylic, nodized aluminum, bronze bolts
ø 15.5 cm, d. 0.7 cm
Photo: Eva Jünger

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Thomas Gentille, Pin, 20th century
Colorcone (plastic), steel
Back: Industrial pins
h. 6.5 – 8 cm, b. 4 – 7.5 cm, d. 1 – 2.5 cm
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. Permanent loan of the Danner Foundation, Munich, photo: A. Laurenzo

The pieces of jewelery created by Thomas Gentile possess their own unmistakable pictorial language. Their geometrical and polygonal forms play with surfaces that are combined with three-dimensional and sometimes architectural shapes. The surfaces are primarily monochrome or display the colors and internal structure of the material used…..

The jewelery objects by Thomas Gentille developed in the context of the international emergence of studio jewelery as a field in its own right, but also in light of an approach that bridged the ornament as an all over- structure.  This means the works also forge a lint to art, to representatives of Minimalism, such as Donald Judd or Robert Mangold, and to Hard Edge approaches, such as that of Frank Stella. Such ideas are as relevant as is Jackson Pollock as a campion of Abstract Expressionism.  (Dr. Angelika Nollert, at foreword of the Thomas Gentille publication)

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Thomas Gentille, Pin, 20th century
Eggshell inlay (Emu)
Back: Industrial pins (h. 14.9 cm, b. 5.2 cm, d. 0.8 cm)
Photo: Eva Jünger

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Thomas Gentille, Pin, 20th century
Eggshell- inlay
Back: Industrial pins (h. 7.2 cm, b. 13.8 cm, d. 0.8 cm)
Photo: Eva Jünger

His works with an eggshell overlay are famous. Using this mysterious method and even without employing the old Asian lacquer technique he produces a krakelée surface on his works. Gentille explains that it takes years of experimentation and practice with the technique until you finally grasp the “soul of the material”. (press)

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Thomas Gentille, late 1980s
Photo: Bill Philipps
Archive: Thomas Gentille

Thomas Gentille is born 1936 in Mansfield, Ohio, and a resident of New York since 1960. With Gentille, Die Neue Sammlung is continuation its tradition of exhibiting international studio jewelery.  Following extensive monographs of the works by Hermann  Jünger, Gijs Bakker, Dorothea Prühl, Giampaolo Babette, Peter Skubic, Otto Künzli and Anton Cepka, with Thomas Gentille another broad oeuvre is acknowledged – one which is closely linked to Munich and its development as a centre for studio jewelry. It was back in 2001 that Thomas Gentile was awarded the Herbert Hofmann Award in the jewelry section of the Internationale Handwerksmesse, Munich’s annual exhibition of craftsmanship, and since the artist has exhibited regularly in the city. In 2004 he was presented with he Bavarian State Award, in Munich. (Dr Angelika Nollert, foreword of published book, ‘Untitled. Thomas Gentille. American Jeweller.’) 

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Thomas Gentille, Bracelet, 20th century
silver
h. 6.9 cm, b. 3.8 cm
Photo: Eva Jünger

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                                                                  Thomas Gentille, feb 26th, 2016,  photo@Venetia Kapernekas
a film conceived and realized by the artist about the two most important cities in his life, namely New York and Munich is projected in the premised of the Rotunda at Pinakothek der Moderne.

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A beautiful  230-page catalog  by Arnoldsche Publications on the life and work of the artist with a preface by Dr.Angelika Nollert, an essay by Andrea DiNoto and an interview with Thomas Gentille conducted by Bettina Dittlmann and Dr.Petra Hölscher.

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Thomas Gentille, Pin, 21st century
Air, plywood, maple, paint
Back: Industrial pins
h. 22.3 cm, b. 2.2 cm, d. 1.2 cm
Photo: Eva Jünger

Gentille’s works are owned by leading museums worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Cleveland Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum, Munich.

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