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Sylvie Nissen
TheWIFTS Foundation Award - France
  
Sylvie Nissen
Innovator - Curator – Gallery Owner
 
Sylvie Nissen was one of those rare individuals who are one of a kind. Back in the early '80s, Sylvie innovated a new curve of introducing her own singular standard of recognition for new artist in the art world and stood at the height of its curve where many still clamber to define: what was that rare quality that made her such a success? It was an undefinable strength of character, drive, and je ne sais quoi.

Yann de Saint Sulpice, her partner since 1978 who will continue the legacy of The Sylvie Nissen Galerie which carries a collection of rare jewellery & Objects d'Art, said: "Sylvie was an extraordinary woman, she had verve, was proactive in her field, and very generous and nurturing of others. When the crash of 2008 affected some of her friends – she helped anonymously. They never knew that the check that helped them at that moment was from Sylvie. She had a passion for the unique items in the Sylvie Nissen collection, each piece she lovingly sourced and displayed. Every day she was full of ideas. We recently made some lacquered chairs with images from the Gruau collection on the backs, which were snapped up by one of our clients. Once in a lifetime, you meet someone with whom you have a creative bond. Sylvie and I shared such a bond, which I will miss."

Sylvie Nissen signing Copies of the Chinese translation of her Book on Rene Gruau in Beijing

Sylvie Nissen graduated from the prestigious Ecole du Louvre in Paris, and continued her training in museography, qualifying as a Museum Curator. Nissen started her career as the right hand to Jacques Kugel, of Galerie J. Kugel, one of the world's most important and esteemed art dealers. After working with Kugel for some time, Nissen, with an interest in period jewellery, decided to open her own gallery dedicated to showcasing this niche of jewellery which until then had little exposure.

Nissen has the distinction of being one of only a handful of women who have donated rare items to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), located in the Palais du Louvre's western wing and the Musée d'Orsay.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs was established in 1905. Members of the Union des Arts Décoratifs completely renovated it in 2006. The importance of the museum is expressed by Béatrice Salmon, its director in 2006, who also oversaw the restoration. She called the collection "the history of French taste and of the decorative arts and design in France" and ventured: "People [in France] understand how to relate to paintings and sculpture in a museum, but they don't know how to interpret objects."

In 1978, Sylvie partnered with Yann de Saint Sulpice and together they designed and offered their clientele a unique collection of one of kind jewellery and objects sourced from around the world. In 1982, Nissen established her gallery in Paris and in the lobby of the Carlton Hotel Cannes. Festival participants over the years have browsed the window to admire and buy her eclectic collection of antique jewellery and precious stones. The Sylvie Nissen Galerie in the lobby of the Hotel Carlton Cannes is synonymous with Elegance, Memory, Art and History.

Chien Lotus From The Sylvie Nissen Galerie

In 1990, Sylvie Nissen and Rene Gruau entered into an enduring partnership in which The Sylvie Nissen Galerie represents the work of Rene Gruau exclusively worldwide. Gruau, the artist /illustrator, preferred to work with women in business. Famous for his work with Dior, his murals at the Lido, and the Moulin Rouge… he was also inspired by Liz Taylor – whose eyes appear in many of his works. Princess Grace, Bettina, Lauren Bacall, Capucine… legendary figures who frequented the lounge in the Hotel Carlton, also appear in his work. Born in Rimini and sharing a love of the film industry and the birthplace of the great director Fellini, Dolce Vita was immortalised in one of Gruau's iconic posters. Between 1993 and 2000, Nissen curated 15 exhibitions of Gruau's work in art galleries and museums throughout Asia.

Sylvie Nissen authored two books on Rene Gruau, who was not only famous for his collaboration with Christian Dior, but was also a good friend. The latest book, Gruau: Portraits of Men, published by Assouline Books, illustrates Renee Gruau's work covering the men who were the subjects for his iconic illustrations.

In the 1990s, she also put into action one of her secret ambitions: to exhibit and promote artists with unclassifiable talent who were 'singular' by a certain lifestyle and elegance. In following this passion, she has achieved the rare feat of running a successful business – on an international scale – for more than thirty years. Under the careful orchestration of Sylvie Nissen, antique jewellery – from the 18th Century to the 1950s – sheds its outdated and frivolous aura. Rare Berlin iron necklaces, collected by the British Museum, together with Cartier's "caged birds" or "imprisoned hearts" – discreet witnesses to the German occupation in 1940 - Nissens's collection hold the memory of their time and the integral ideological and artistic movements of their day. From Carl Fabergé, and the treasures of Russia, to the Art Deco jewellery by Fouquet, Despres, Boivan, or Belperron - close relatives of the cubist and Bauhaus movements – the imbalance of the 1870 war is revealed in the wavy, deformed and unstable lines of Art Nouveau and an extraordinary dragonfly by Lalique. All find their place in the memory-laden display cases at a Sylvie Nissen Galerie in Cannes and Paris. Nissen's relationships within this circle allowed her to maintain valued contacts between her gallery and the most prestigious museum exhibitions, both in France and internationally. Sylvie Nissen unexpectedly passed away in September 2014.




 
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Mayfair Showroom 2012
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