Fixed, folded, or fontage—fans have cooled the air, aided elegance of movement, and spoken a silent language for centuries. A Graceful Gift displays the fantastical ornamentation of these miniature artworks that hold our gaze and draw us in to look ever closer: minutely painted leaves depict courtly lovers, expertly carved mother-of-pearl scenes reveal convoluting cherubs, and delicately entwined silk filaments form bouquets of lace. As intended, these remarkable late-Victorian and Edwardian accessories are complemented by couture ensembles dressed for varied occasions that required a final flourish at the wrist.
Fashion Council member and world-renowned gemologist Mona Lee Nesseth exercised her jeweler’s eye when forming this remarkable collection of Belle Époque fans. The FIDM Museum is enriched by her generous gift.