This tour de force in design and fine hand carving recently became available again following several years on loan to the German gemstone museum in Idar-Oberstein.
Hans-Jürgen Henn envisioned ‘Manhattan’, an ambitious and inspired architectural piece during one of his visits to the great American city: “I had the idea while admiring the view from the top of the Empire State Building. The ensemble of constructions with stone and glass skyscrapers in different volumes, the way they caught the light, I saw it all as a succession of fine crystals. I thought of recreating this dynamic city landscape by carving each separate edifice using a series of graduated minerals. I wanted the reality of its scale, structure and tones to come together as art – a kind of city of dreams.”
When he returned to Germany, Henn shared his vision with Rudolf Dröschel, a highly experienced lapidary. The master craftsman was equally enthused and so began a creative collaboration which took over 2 years to complete.
First 768 individual pieces of quartz were selected from a variety of rock crystals. These were then hand cut on a traditional 2 metre diameter sandstone wheel by Dröschel. Materials included quartz with rutile and tourmaline inclusions, some smoked, and pieces in citrine, amethyst, rose and girosol quartz. Once carved they were painstakingly polished one by one creating subtle variations in both colour and finish. These ranged from frosted through to illusions of silk, mirroring the rich tapestry of textures in the original stone and glass facades.
Every element of the build was done by hand and dimensions were set by eye, without recourse to formal measurements. From the squattest to the tallest of towers and the perfectly balanced spaces in between, each aspect of this extraordinary work of art was shaped into a cohesive, harmonious and surprisingly accurate artistic rendition of Manhattan.
Once completed, each of the individual pieces was carefully mounted onto a large solid black granite base – art imitating life all the way through the vision, New York itself having been built on the very same type of rock.
The finished sculpture is like a dynamic three dimensional canvas. It plays with form, light and shadow and is a delight to behold, evoking Henn’s original vision and a view that has over the years been appreciated by millions. ‘Manhattan’ presents the very heart of The Big Apple in its full glory, a hand crafted city of dreams, a crystal vision come to life.
This already historic piece predates the tragic demise of the Twin Towers and was assembled before Trump Tower’s final appearance, adding extra layers to its legendary status.
‘Manhattan’ is built on a granite base measuring 122 x 54 x 4.5cm (maximum dimensions). The tallest building is 15 cm high, the stainless steel columns measure 96 cm and the maximum height in total is 115.5 cm. The whole piece weights approximately 170 kg.
Visit the ‘Manhattan’ product page in our Objets d’Art gallery, where you will find may other inspired and unique handcarved gemstone pieces.