Just a click to open these photos

Anamnèse Broach Torque Fibula Double bracelet Torque

Goudji's Jewellery

"No one will be surprised to learn that Goudji was selected to design the first line of jewellery intended exclusively for the Louvre Museum. Aside from the fact that several of this great artist's pieces have already been exhibited in museums throughout the world, there is an obvious link between his art, explicitely inspired by the goldsmiths of ancient civilizations –Mesopotamian, Greek, Hittite, Etruscan…–, and the French Museum where his work is most splendidly represented.

Moveover, one might say that the Louvre and Goudji share the same goal: the first seeks to celebrate, and the second to recreate beauty that shuns the transcience of fashion, and which we would like to call timeless."

Michel Laclotte

President of the Louvre Museum


Once in Paris, Goudji was finally able to express himself and create according to his dreams. He began to work with sterling silver, blending cultures, combining semi-precious stones in exquisite pieces of unrivaled originality. All of Goudji's jewels are made with tools that he forges himself as needed to hammer and emboss silver leafs, and inlay metal with the rarest of gems. It is Goudji's small jewellery, modest at first and later sumptuous, that made a name for him amongst lovers of contemporary goldsmithery. All his ornaments are unique, and refined in the extreme, due to the "hollow-beating" technique he employs. In addition to its aesthetic value, this technique allows him to save metal and lightens the weight of the compositions for the comfort of the wearer. Even the pendant included in Marc Hérissé's book (1993), and the "Goudji au Louvre" jewellery selected by Michel Laclotte and the curators for the Louvre's Bicentennial and the Opening of the Richelieu Wing (1993), were made by hand in Goudji's atelier.

Goudji's invention of the magnet clasp allowed him to achieve original variations: by combining a four-faceted ring in which each facet is treated differently, i.e. colored stones or sculptures, with a reversible pendant, one can obtain five or six different ornaments from the same necklace.

The names of "Goudji au Louvre" ornaments are evocative: "Queen of the Colchides", "Memory of the Steppe", "Anamnesis", a whole vocabulary revived by the artist, thanks to whom "torques and fibulas" are no longer the prerogative of gods and divinities.

They are now the privilege of modern, active women who wear "Goudji's", and like to recognize each others as such.

It is for these women that Goudji has recreated the primitive purity of mythical and sacred forms, exalted by the richness of materials ennobled by fire and the human hand.


To Katherine

A letter to the artist's wife, who requested me to write something for his forthcoming exhibition, expressing herself in the following words: "Goudji, while reflecting on our roots (and not only his own, since it is true to say that the influence on the Arts can be found in every civilization and country, even the most diametrically opposed, geographically and historically, to one another), is not at all addicted to the past, in spite of what some contemporary art cataloguers may say; they who believe they have invented everything and can thus repudiate his creativity."

Your words are precious gold, dear Katherine. Since I have known both of you, it seems to me that almost everything has already been said about Goudji but it is not an unpleasant task for me to repeat what I feel. He must never deny his sources. These form the very foundations of art and we are all well aware that without a living tradition, art is defunct before it is ever born. Goudji's sources are obvious. So much the better. Stylistically and formally so. They are a reminding wink that situate the work, that reassure, but are not the creation itself. At the risk of seeming a flagrant flatterer, I rather believe that one and only one unique and profound sentiment guides and directs Goudji. This is the love he bears for all things and which shines through his work - this love, which inspires him, makes gold even more dezzling, gems even more glowing. The theme of love is inexhaustible and, of course, like everyone else, I do have my own ideas on the subject; ideas befitting a faithful man who is, in addition, a curator, fully aware of the implications of enthusiasm and commitment. You love Goudji and you are surely right to do so, even if being right is not always compatible with love, although . . . I love his work, even if it is inseparable from the man, but I am obliged in my role as a curator to talk about him with feigned indifference, as if I was situating a 1985 artist, whom I could not possibly know, in the year 2085 or the year 2185. Therefore, let's forget about this individual, long since disappeared, and return only to his work, now shared among all the museums and great collections throughout the world. Standing before this thief-proof showcase, protected by an invisible radar, I experience the same wonderment I wouid have felt upon discovering, in some open field, a poor sepulchre, probably Gallo-Roman. Here, amongst the miserable shattered fragments and old bones, I alight upon a very beautiful and very simple gold fibula, still bright with the memory of the little girl who wore it. Standing before Goudji's art, so warm, so rich, so heavy with his love of things, and of you, we sense, whatever our beliefs, that he is still present. But that is yet another story. In any case, experience teaches us that eternal lovers of precious objects, sensitive to the value and the sense of craftsmanship, know just what passion implies in relation to past and present times. Certainly, in the museum showcase, the object is an exhibit, material proof of the intention of some mysterious tribunal, pronouncing unpredictable edicts, but it is also the witness who speaks in the name of the generations who have engendered it, in the name of those who believed in it, who wore it and loved it (strange, how we always come back to love). Here, we have grouped together, a torque, a bracelet, a fibula, a pectoral. Instinctively or through professional habit, I am transported back to our ancestors from the steppes, to the ironsmiths from Koban and Colchis, to merovingian goldsmiths, to the Goths, Ostrogoths and Visigoths, who have adorned the sepulchres of Europe and Asia for over two thousand years. Perhaps I may be wrong to invoke this historical arsenal but I need not have any compunctions in doing so. When objects are exemplary to such an extreme degree, they bear witness to the excellence of manual art but without doubt, even more to a new way of seeing, of feeling, of being, thereby demonstrating that one cannot be a craftsman without the support of a profound culture. (The finest chair-maker I ever knew was a violinist whose disability prevented him from giving concerts.) Craft is necessary. It can be learnt more or less. It is accessible to one and all. It is a question of skilfulness. But the basic essential that cannot be taught and that one must know how to assume and express is the culture lived through books, through legends, through the daily life and morals of a family. In Doctor 's family, from Batoumi, the little Goudji received a good schooling. If culture, that is to say, love of truth, had not preserved him from the seductive clutches of the prevailing Régime, he could easily have deviated. Was he not, at the age of 23, the youngest member to be elected to the Union of Artists? Yet, when Goudji came to Paris, he remained faithful to his sources and I admire the fact that these sources, on which we hang historical and geographical references, have finally become, without losing any of their authenticity, perceptible proof of his insertion into the era and the place. It is as if Goudji had synthesized past antiquity and far flung ethnic groups, for the usage of our times. Because finally, what we attribute, through lack of imagination, to the past, is only the actual recognition of myths and emotions, which have never ceased to inhabit us. Our roots, seemingly so very far away, are closer and more common to us all than we realize. We are made to feel just how much we are all jointly members of the same humanity, precisely because Goudji reveals them in their eternal topicality. And perhaps, a radical re-evaluation of his vocation was necessary to release in him the need to praise the permanence of these common sources, now in peril. Singers no longer have voices. We no longer listen to the poets. Only the work of the artist remains a real token of love. If Goudji yielded to his natural penchant, he would spend his time covering all women in jewellery because of this need he has to thank them for transmitting and incarnating these fragile, tender, sacred and endangered values. In his hands, gold, silver and precious gems become the ultimate resource in the face of danger, the rare talisman which preserves and safeguards from evil. Jewellery is his prayer, his offering in praise of Our Father, for the beauty of Creation and its creatures. His way of being yours, dear Katherine.



François Mathey,

Honorary Head Curator of the Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris


The artist
Sacred Art