Lucy Sarneel’s (1961 – 2020) distinctive use of fabricated zinc was inspired by the material’s omnipresence in the objects and architecture of her native Netherlands. The material represents the blue-grey sky and sea, and the color of the subconscious. Zinc is the reassuring, domestic world of rain pipes, buckets, and washtubs; towers and dormer windows, the architectural “jewels” of old European cities; and the protective quality of steel preventing rust. Creating fields of tension in form, idea, and material, she used familiar symbols for love, protection, and handcrafts, as well as forms relating to forgotten traditions, proverbs, popular motifs, and themes from folklore.
Lucy Sarneel work evolved towards the idea of a jewel as a power-object and patron, trying to catch a kind of “cultivated primitivism”. This provides a counterweight to the high-tech, efficient, and mass-oriented world in which cultures are disappearing as a result of commercialization and globalization. The visual language of her jewelry is associative, sculptural, and encourages the free experience of thoughts and feelings.
A graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Sarneel exhibited in major international solo and group exhibitions. She is considered one of the most influential and inspirational artists in the field of Contemporary Art Jewelry.
We will miss her dearly.
Selected Public Collections
Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal (CAN)
Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York (USA)
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC (USA)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA)
De Marzee Collectie, Nijmegen (NL)
Nederlands Textielmuseum,Tilburg (NL)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL)
Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem (NL)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)
CODA Museum, Apeldoorn (NL)
Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim (DE)
Pinakothek der Moderne Munich (DE)
My work arises from the field of tension between the inspiring past and the untouchable present that is created by traditions and spiritual, symbolic values.
For some time my work has developed towards the idea of a jewel considered as a power-object and patron, as a counterpart of the high-tech, time-efficient, money-ruled world we live in.
The “carrying material“ of my work is zinc, representing the blue-grey sky and sea, the subconscious, dreaming away in the distance, the reassuring domestic world of rainpipes, buckets and washtubs, architectural “jewels” like little towers and dormer windows in old European cities and the protective quality of preventing steel from rusting.
I am looking for fields of tension, both in form and material as a metaphor for life in the quest for balance between forces which we are governed by.