Past Exhibition

Men's Rings, Collection Yves Gastou

Tokyo, Japan 14.01.2022 — 13.03.2022
Men's Rings, Collection Yves Gastou

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery 3

9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku
107-0052 Tokyo

Free admission (no reservation needed), [Opening hours] everyday from 11:00 to 18:00 *during the pre-emergency measures. [Opening period] Jan 14 (Fri) – Mar 13 (Sun), 2022

Men’s Rings

In January 2022, L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, comes back to Tokyo with the breathtaking collection of men’s rings that belonged to Yves Gastou. This collection, unprecedented because it is exclusively dedicated to men's rings, whereas it is rather popular and contemporary to associate the jewel to the feminine, has never been exposed to the public outside L’ÉCOLE.

This exhibition showcases an array of about 400 rings including rings of the 17th century Venice doges, American biker rings of the 1970s as well as ancient Egyptian rings and 19th century “memento mori” skull rings among others.

The selection of rings on display is representative of the five themes that define the collection and illustrate its diversity : neoclassical, Gothic revival, Christian mysticism, vanities and otherness. Each ring contains a story that links it to the collector and resembles him, to which he has identified himself, like so many small pieces of himself. The exhibition, like a secret lair where he reveals his work, aims precisely to tell an anecdote, the story of a life devoted to art and love of objects.

Yves Gastou

Yves Gastou's name became known thanks to his gallery on rue Bonaparte which he founded in Paris in the mid-1980s and which quickly became a renowned address in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

As for his extraordinary collection of men's rings, its existence remained confidential until the exhibition at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in Paris in 2018. It is however this side of his personality as a collector, obscured by his public life as a dealer, that this exhibition proposed to discover. He built up this collection with accumulation, frenzy, relentlessness and risk-taking, for more than thirty years, according to his usual path as a treasure hunter (flea markets, public auctions, jewelers' and workshops' stocks), but also his travels. Rich with a thousand rings, it paints a Chinese portrait, as many things of beauty, materialized dreams, bewitching enigmas, concretized memories, skimmed fields of possibilities. From this vertiginous accumulation, the bulimic appetite that Yves Gastou had for beauty and for life. In other words, this collection constitutes both his great work, interrupted by his death in 2020, and at the same time his last testament, his ultimate creation.


Yves Gastou and his son, Victor Gastou © Galerie Yves Gastou

"Men's Rings, Collection Yves Gatou" by L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts

Live Online Conversation

Following the live online conversation "Men's Ring" held on Thursday, January 27th during the exhibition, another online talk will be held on Thursday, February 24th, 2022.

Men’s jewels, signs & insigns
Today overshadowed by female jewelry, male jewelry has long been a real craze. Much more than an element of adornment, it is at once a social and cultural marker, an instrument of power assertion, a communication tool and a fashion accessory. It crosses symbolic and ornamental functions.
The conversation will be an opportunity to rediscover the importance of male jewel in History.

This online conversation will be broadcast live from L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in Paris. 

Léonard Pouy

Art Historian PhD and Professor and Researcher at L'ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts
Gislain Aucremanne

Art Historian, Antique Jewelry Specialist and Conferences Project Manager at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts

Thursday, February 24 at 06:00pm (Japan Time)
Conference given in English
Simultaneous translations in Japanese available