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The Marks of Mid 20th Century American Artist/Jewelers
by Marbeth Schon
These are the marks of over ninety American, mid 20th century artist/jewelers who worked in the modernist tradition. I've also included brief, biographical information. More can be found in various articles in this magazine (links are provided) and in my books, Modernist Jewelry, 1930 - 1960, The Wearable Art Movement and Form & Function, American Modernist Jewelry, 1940 - 1970 . If the information came another source, it has been credited.
The work of the following people is still as fresh and modern as it was when it was created. It has never been trendy—it is timeless.
Sadly, we have lost
almost all of these treasured artists, some very recently. The
works they left behind will go on to grace the bodies and homes of
those who continue to appreciate the value of what will forever be
considered "good design."
|Allan Adler||Allan Adler (1916-2002) was a master silversmith who worked in the Arts and Crafts tradition, but expressed himself in the simple, clean lines of modernism. He had a shop on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California and became popular among the rich and famous of Hollywood.|
|Adda Husted-Andersen||Metalsmith, Adda Husted-Andersen,(1898-1990),began her life and career in Denmark, where she was awarded a metal from the Gold and Silversmith Guild. She later studied in Denmark and Paris. During World War II, she came to the United States, to New York, where she worked at Georg Jensen USA. For the next thirty years, she created jewelry and hollowware that she presented in her shop near the United Nations. She was president of the New York Society of Craftsmen for several years and taught jewelry and enameling at the Craft Student's League, where she was a major influence on her students that included Pearl Schecter, Walter Rhodes, Mary Kretsinger, and Alice Zimmerman.|
Lilyan Bachrach is a remarkable, versatile enamellist whose oeuvre includes jewelry, wall pieces, plates, bowls, mezuzahs, and switch plates. Her work flows easily between beautiful floral and abstract designs; she is equally adept at both. She has been enameling for over fifty years, studying with the "greats" such as Kenneth Bates and Doris Hall.
Since 1970 her Bachrach Art Enamels have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States. Her commission work has ranged from cloisonné pins to architectural panels and religious objects.
|Franz Bergmann||Franz W. Bergmann (1898-1977) started life in Austria where, after serving in World War II, he studied art at the National Academy of Art in Vienna. By 1924, he was exhibiting in Vienna and Stockholm. By 1929, he was living in the United States--New York, Chicago and eventually and finally, San Francisco where he became a celebrated artist, exhibiting at the Golden Gate International Exhibition in 1939. Bergmann also worked in jewelry, pottery and enamels. An accident in 1952 that left him with two broken legs, led him to concentrate on enamels. By 1959 he was considered on of the "leading enamel artists", exhibiting in the seminal exhibition, "Enamels" at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York.|
Ruth Berridge (1921-2004) was an American
modernist jewelry designer who worked out of her apartment/studio on
East 82nd Street in New York during the 1950s and 1960s. She
attended the Rhode Island School of Design, and also studied with
Danish-trained jeweler, Adda Husted-Andersen in New York.
She made earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and hair combs. She also made men’s jewelry including cuff links. Perhaps her signature look can be considered the silver mobile jewelry , especially earrings, that sway with the wearer’s movement. Handmade of sterling silver and spring wire, the delicately balanced mobiles were called modern sculpture in miniature and made with and without rhinestone or crystal accents. Ruth originated this design that was sold through Niemann Marcus as well as by such avant-garde shops as Design Research in New York; The Upper Story in Cambridge; and Nanny’s in San Francisco.
Also see: Jewelry in Motion, the Modernist Art of Ruth Berridge by Jacqueline Rehmann
|Porter Blanchard||Porter Blanchard (1886 – 1973) was an American silversmith living and working in Pacoima, California in the United States. He is considered to be part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His daughter, Alice, married Lewis Wise who conducted business as Porter Blanchard Silversmiths (Calabasas, California). After 1955, all of Porter Blanchard flatware was made at the Calabasas shop, while the hollowware was made at his Pacoima home. Many of his papers including photographs of his shop are collected in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. His daughter, Becca, married Allan Adler, born 1916 of Los Angeles, who continued designing as a silversmith in that tradition.|
|Frances Holmes Boothby||fhb is the mark for Fances Holmes
Boothby who worked in the 1950s. She taught jewelry making in
Troy, New York and also in Vermont. She exhibited at the Walker in
Minneapolis in 1955. Her work was mainly done in sterling silver,
sometimes with ebony and/or stones, though she did work in gold,
plastics, and brass. She is known for her small, whimsical "bird"
brooches with wire legs.
|Mildred Lee Ball||Mildred Ball was born October 6, 1902 in Harrison County, West Virginia. She attended Columbia University and taught jewelry making at the Community Art Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Salem College. She was one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Association in Winston-Salem (now the Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts) and a charter member of the Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc., for ten years. She worked with various materials and techniques using enamel, ceramics, and sterling silver, creating jewelry and hollowware. She also created enamels depicting some of the buildings in Winston-Salem|
Master enamellist Kenneth Bates (1904 - 1994), has been known as the "Dean of American Enameling" ever since he was described as such in a 1967 issue of Ceramics Monthly. Bates taught for many years at the Cleveland School of Art and influenced a great number of artist/enamelists through his work, his teaching, and his books.
In the introduction to his book, "Enameling Principles and Practice," Bates said that he felt a kind of "awesome enchantment" with enamels. "This feeling of ....enchantment continued for Bates throughout a career in enameling that spanned more than sixty years."
|Jules Brenner||Jules Brenner (1917-1991), a native of New York City, began his career as a painter and sculptor, but later, after working with Ed Wiener in Provincetown, turned to jewelry-making as his main focus. Beginning in 1953, he had a store in Greenwich Village for which he created modernist pieces, mostly in silver. In 1963, he moved his shop to Lexington Avenue and began working in gold, casting many pieces using the lost-wax process. He moved permanently to Provincetown in 1974 where he worked until his death in 1991|
|Irvin & Bonnie Burkee||
Irvin and Bonnie Burkee were a husband and wife team who created jewelry in the modernist tradition beginning in the 1940s. Irvin died in 2007.
|John Bryan||John Bryan (d.1982) was a modernist jeweler who lived an worked in Ashville, North Carolina in the 1950s. He worked mostly in abstract designs of enamel on silver.|
|Jules Brenner||Jules Brenner (1917-1991), a native of New York City, began his career as a painter and sculptor, but later, after working with Ed Wiener in Provincetown, turned to jewelry-making as his main focus. Beginning in 1953, he had a store in Greenwich Village for which he created modernist pieces, mostly in silver. In 1963, he moved his shop to Lexington Avenue and began working in gold, casting many pieces using the lost-wax process. He moved permanently to Provincetown in 1974 where he worked until his death in 1991.|
Irena Brynner, (1917 - 2002) was a skilled sculptor, painter, musician and, most importantly, one of the most celebrated American jewelers of the mid 20th century. She came to the United States in 1946, to San Francisco where she first made jeweler and began showing her work at the San Francisco Open Air Art Festivals and nationally in exhibits such as "Contemporary Jewelry" at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1955.
In 1957 Brynner set up a studio and gallery in New York City where she soon became recognized through articles in major craft magazines and a one-woman exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. When she died, in 2002 her work was in museums throughout the world including the Smithsonian, the Louvre and the Hermitage.
I've also seen her work simply marked: "IB"
Josephine and Antoinette Catanzaro were sisters from a large Sicilian family from Buffalo, New York. In the 1950s, through a course in jewelry making, the sisters discovered a lifetime passion for metalworking. In 1959, they opened a shop called The house of Crafts in Buffalo where they had an onsite studio for creating their own pieces in silver and gold. they exhibited their work, widely, in the U.S. and sold through retail craft outlets in New York and Boston.
|Virgil Cantini||Virgil Cantini
was born in Italy in 1919 and came to the US in 1930. He received
his Master's Degree from the University of Pittsburgh where he
became a Professor in the Henry Frick Fine Arts Department. In Time
Magazine’s 1953 Poll he was named as one of the "Hundred Leaders of
Tomorrow." He received numerous awards and prizes for his enamel
work, many in the form of large-scale enamel panels and sculptures.
(information from The Design and Creation of Jewelry by Robert
Please note two maker's marks for Cantini--one is cursive in gold enamel and the other is stamped "CANTINI."
|Milton Cavagnaro (1913-1993) was a California jeweler whose work is distinctive in it's skillful use of silver in combination with natural materials such as wood, bone, and shell. He made only one-of-a-kind pieces.|
Orville Chat (1924-2007) graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1931. His jewelry was mostly done in sterling silver in combination with imported woods, beach pebbles, petrified wood, agate, shell, and semi-precious and precious stones. He exhibited his jewelry at the the Walker Art Center in 1955.
Chatt a taught crafts at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, New York for twenty-five years, beginning in 1964. He was honored with an Award for Excellence for jewelry arts and education by the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington and was an honorary lifetime member of Northwest Designer Craftsmen.
|Maxwell Chayat (1909 - 1982) was born in Paris, but came to the United States as a child during World War I. His work was prominent in private collections and synagogues in Syracuse. His sculpture ''The Sentinel'' stands outside Crouse College on the Syracuse University campus. His work has been shown at the Smithsonian Institution, Cooper Union, the Jewish Museum of New York and the Newark Museum.|
|Ella L. Cone
|Ela L. Cone was a
mid-20th century silversmith who worked in New York and Boston.
I've seen two marks, "CONE, STERLING," and ELA L CONE, STERLING."
Betty Cooke has been designing and creating her one-of-a-kind pieces since the 1940s. She has been widely recognized and has won many prizes for her work. She exhibited at the 1951 "Alumni Exhibition, Textiles, Ceramics, Metalwork" at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1955 and 1959 at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and she was given a retrospective at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1995. I interviewed Betty Cooke at her shop in Baltimore in 2001. You can read that interview at http://www.modernsilver.com/BETTYCOOKE.htm
|Margaret De Patta||
Margaret De Patta (1904-1964) is probably the most seminal figure ever to work within the modernist tradition of jewelry design during the mid 20th century. She was raised in San Diego, California, where she studied painting and sculpture for two years at the local art academy, before moving to San Francisco to attend the California School of Fine Arts. In 1926, she won a scholarship to study at the prestigious Arts Students League in New York, where she was exposed to the work of the European avant-garde. Upon her return to San Francisco two years later to marry, she became interested in jewelry making when she could not find a wedding band that suited her modernist taste. Always self-directed, she taught herself the craft. In the years that followed, she found exploring space in three-dimensions to be more compelling than two, and so gave up painting to devote herself entirely to jewelry making. For De Patta, jewelry design shared many of the same concerns as modern architecture and sculpture, as they were both involved with “space, form, tension, organic structure, scale, texture, interpenetration, superimposition, and economy of means.”
For more information, please see MODERN SILVER magazine, "Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta"
|Karl Drerup||German born and
educated, Karl Drerup (1904-2000) was an accomplished painter and
enamelist. He first studied painting in Berlin and then in
Italy. In 1937 he settled in New York City where he made his living
with his enamels, becoming a charter member of the Society of
In 1946, Drerup moved to new Hampshire where he was hired by Plymouth State College to teach art. He was a much-loved teacher, his work earned him many honors, and is included in many museum collections.
Please also see:
|Robert & Audrey Engstrom||Robert and Audrey Engstrom are known for their unique, handmade jewelry both in silver and in enamel on copper. They worked independently, but it is difficult to know which partner (they were husband and wife) created their p pieces though the enamel work was probably mostly done by Audrey.|
|Claire Falkenstein||Oregon native, Claire
Falkenstein (1908-1997), was an internationally recognized
sculptor and jeweler. She was influenced by the natural forms
of the Oregon Coast that she saw as a child.
She studied art at the University of
California, Berkeley where she graduated in 1930. She then went on
to study with Russian modernist, Alexander Archipenko at Mills
College in Oakland.
|Felice||Felice was New York mid 20th century jeweler. We would love to know more!|
|John Fix||John Fix was a resident of Sparks, Maryland. He attended Ohio State University as an undergraduate from 1960-1964, majoring in art and sculpture. He attended Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1964-1966 where he earned a MFA in metalsmithing and went on to teach metalsmithing at Towson State University in Maryland, beginning in 1967. Fix died in 2011.|
Elsa Freund (1912- 2001) was a mostly self-taught jeweler. She was born in Branson, Missouri where she was influenced by the natural beauty of the Ozarks. In the 1940s, after teaching school and working at odd jobs, she started making jewelry. Her "stones" were made by firing clay with pulverized bits of glass. Freund was an "intuitive modernist" who, though she had not seen the work of other modernist jewelers, wrapped her stones in free-form designs that are reminiscent of the work of New York jeweler, Sam Kramer. In 1949, Freund moved to Florida where she began placing her work in shops in Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and St. Amand's Key. Later, she also sold her work at America House in New York.
|Arnold Frew||Studio jeweler J. Arnold Frew, worked in Arcadia, California in the 1950s. Many of his customers were Hollywood celebrities. Like other studio jewelers of his day, Frew created one-of-kind pieces in silver, mostly undecorated and modern. He also worked in the lost wax process.|
Though born in the United States, near New Orleans, Clemens Friedell (1872 - 1963) was educated in Austria where he first learned to work with silver. At the age of seventeen, he returned to the United States, to Texas, and, in 1901, went to work for Gorham in Providence, Rhode Island, working for seven years on their Martelé handwrought line. In 1911 he found his way to Pasadena, California, where he gained notoriety for his "orange blossom set" for brewing tycoon E. R. Maier -- "107 pieces reminiscent of Martelé, with service for 18 and several large elaborate items including a 28-inch tall centerpiece. Maier paid him $15,000. It took over a year to make, used 2,200 ounces of silver, and was decorated with over 10,000 hand-chased orange blossoms."
Friedell gained notoriety with Pasadena carriage trade for whom he created a "series of heavy silver 'equine portrait plaques' for his horse-loving customers. He received numerous commissions, and was highly sought after as a maker of trophies for organizations including the one that ran the Tournament of Roses parade. He set up shop in the Hotel Maryland, one of Pasadena's swankier resorts, and did well enough to retire in 1921 to Texas. " In 1927 he moved back to California and up shop on Pasadena's main street where he remained until his death in 1963.+
Information from Chicago Silver http://www.chicagosilver.com/friedell.htm
|Richard Gompf||Iowa native, Richard Gompf attended several colleges in North Dakota and Minnesota,
including the University of Minnesota, where he took classes in
jewelry from Philip Morton. In 1956, he studied under Margaret De
Patta at the California College of Arts and Crafts. From 1960 -1969,
he taught jewelry and ceramics at Miramonte High School in Orinda,
He used the lost wax and sand casting methods to create most of his pieces, both hollowware and jewelry. Gompf was a member of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild (president from 1961-63), His work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions and museum shows.
|William De Hart||William De Hart exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1948. He was a graduate of the Universities of New Mexico and Iowa, studied jewelry at the Crafts Students League in New York and was a member of the New York Society of Craftsmen. I believe that he was either president of artistic director of Towle Silversmiths in the late 1950s when they were producing a line of modernist sterling dishes decorated in abstract enamel paintings. A bracelet of enameled domes by De Hart is illustrated in Enameling (1954) by Mary Larom.|
Doris Hall (1907 - 2000) graduated from the Cleveland Institute in 1929 and during the 1940s opened a gallery and studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She and her husband, Kalman Kubinyi later opened a studio/gallery in downtown Boston and lastly, a studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Hall exhibited in the Cleveland Museum of Art annual May Show throughout the 1930s. She also exhibited at the Walker Art Center in 1948. She originated the idea of making enamel "paintings" by treating her copper (or silver) as a canvas and drawing in a dried layer of opalescent crackle to produce an oxidized line.See also: http://www.modernsilver.com/june07/paintingwithfire.htm
|Clifford Herrold||Clifford Herrold (1913-1992) was a native of Oklahoma. He studied at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Oklahoma State College, Colorado State College and Stanford University. He was an associate professor of art at Iowa State Teachers College from 1947-1978. He worked mostly in sterling silver, sometimes with stones or wood.|
|Higgins||Husband and wife team, Michael Higgins(1908-1999) and Francis Higgins (1912-1994) pooled their artistic talents to create "higgins glass." They created mostly utilitarian pieces with colorful, modernist designs.|
|Arthur King||New York jeweler, Arthur King (1921-1986) was a self-taught artist whose experience working with scrap metal during World War II lead him to jewelry design. He opened a gallery in Greenwich Village where he became well known for his organically abstract jewelry designs. His work is in several museum and private collections throughout the world.|
|Hurst & Kingsbury||Hurst Kingsbury ( Joan Hurst and Jill Kingsbury) were two exceptional woman designers who created modernist jewelry in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. Their work was usually constructed from cut, biomorphic shapes. Joan Hurst was a graduate of the Art Students League and Jill Kingsbury was influenced by the art of theatre and dance. Their pieces were always well designed and are of good quality. They are also rare and hard to find.|
Mary Kretsinger (1915-2001) was on one of the most
respected, experimental enamellists of her generation. She
received a master's degree in art history and design at the
State University of Iowa and then continued her art studies at
Columbia University in New York and at the Craft Student's
League with Adda Husted-Andersen.
She was a master enamellist, especially in the technique of cloisonné. "Her colors are rich and powerful....She used jewel-toned enamels in small irregular shapes, floating independently in luminous backgrounds of silver-gray, gold or pearl white....."
(From Form & Function, American Modernist Jewelry, 1940 - 1970 by Marbeth Schon, biography of Mary Kretsinger by Sheila Pamfiloff)
Sam Kramer (1913-1964) is best-known for his unconventional modernist jewelry, much of it biomorphic or anthropomorphic in design. He studied jewelry making at the University of Southern California in the 1930s. He studied gemology at New York University in 1939 and, that same year opened his own shop in Greenwich Village, later moving to West Eighth Street. His jewelry is unique and truly sculptural. It continues to be sought after by collectors of mid 20th Century handmade modernist jewelry.
|Earl Krentzin||Earl Krentzin is a native of Michigan. He studied at Wayne State University in Detroit and then attended Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where he received his M.F.A. degree in metalsmithing. Krentzin's most recognized works in jewelry and sculpture are abstracted sterling silver figures, humorous and sometimes satirical. He lists Paul Klee, Picasso and Salvador Dali as his inspiration for his work. Krentzin was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in Creative Metalwork in 1966 and a Fullbright Grant to study at the Royal Academy of Art.|
|Ibram Lassaw||Ibram Lassaw (1913-2003) was one of America's leading Abstract Expressionist sculptors and was one of the first to intentionally create "sculpture to wear." His work in welded bronze is in permanent collections of most of the major museums in the United States and abroad. Lassaw called his miniature abstract sculptures for the body, "Bosom Sculptures;" The Kootz Gallery in New York City sold them from 1951-1965. Among the early collectors of these small bronzes was Nelson A. Rockefeller.|
|Idella La Vista||Idella La Vista was a talented and dedicated artist who created jewelry and owned a shop where she sold her work and promoted artists from other disciplines. In the 1950's, her shop and studio was at 44 West 54th Street in New York City.|
|Ed Levin||Ed Levin (1921-2008) was a successful artist/jeweler who began creating jewelry in the late 1940s in New York City. In 1950, he founded Ed Levin Jewelry in New York and, in 1953, moved to Shaftsbury, Vermont, and later, in 1964, moved his workshop to Bennington, Vermont where he opened a retail shop. In 1968, he moved his wholesale business to Cambridge, New York where he used production methods to create his jewelry.|
Esther Lewittes was a Los Angeles, California studio jeweler who
worked in the mid 20th Century modernist style. Her work was
included in the exhibition: "Structure and Ornament, American
Modernist Jewelry 1940-1960" at the Fifty-50 Gallery, New York,
There are two different maker's marks shown for Lewittes, one cursive and one in block letters.
Rumanian-born, American studio jeweler Paul Lobel (1899 - 1983) was also a sculptor and designer of glass, furniture and silver hollowware. He had a studio/shop in New York's Greenwich Village in the 1940s and 50s. His work has been included in many museum exhibitions and he was at the forefront of the American Modernist studio jewelry movement.
|Loloma||Charles Loloma (1921-1991) was one of the most influential Native American jewelers of all time. In 1945, he moved away from the Hopi reservation to study ceramics at the School for American Craftsmen in New York City. He then went to Arizona where he opened a ceramics studio at the Kiva Crafts center and from 1954 - 1958, taught a ceramics course at Arizona State University. During that time, Loloma changed from ceramics to a career in jewelry-making. His lavish and groundbreaking way of setting and using stones, wood, ivory, and other materials made him an undisputed master who personally broke down the barriers of regionalism and helped give contemporary Native American Art worldwide recognition.|
|Peter Macchiarini||Peter Macchiarini (1909 -
2001) is considered one of the pioneers of American modernist studio
jewelry. His studio/gallery was in the North Beach section of San
Francisco where, beginning in the 1930s, he handcrafted unique works
of art including sculpture and jewelry. Margaret De Patta was a
close friend and, together with other "pioneers" of this period,
they started the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild.
Also see Macchiarini on Macchiarini, one of the first and still one of the best articles from MODERN SILVER magazine, June - July, 2000.
I'm showing three different marks,
"an etched signature: "Peter Macchiarini" from an early piece by
Peter Macchiarini, MACCHIARINI" in block letters (could be either
Daniel or Peter Macchiarini depending on provenance), and "MACC,"
(could be either Peter Macchiarini or Daniel Macchiarini depending
William Mason and Leonard Field first met each other in the late 1940s. Leonard studied at an art school in Boston and Bill attended Massachusetts School of Art and then took jewelry and silversmithing courses at the Boston Museum School.
When their studies were completed they together opened a shop in Winchester, Massachusetts. Their second location was at 10 Winchester Place directly across from the Winchester police station. Their shop name, Macefield, came from the combination of their last names
Even though each piece was unique and one of a kind, they were able to keep several shops; one on the Cape run by Mark Allen and another shop on Nantucket.
For more information on Macefield, see http://www.modernsilver.com/macefield/macefield.htm
|Everett Macdonald||Everett Macdonald
opened a shop in Laguna Beach, California in 1947. He was
mostly self-taught, but was introduced to metalworking by his
mother, a high school crafts instructor.
Macdonald is known for his use of nylon monofilament strung between the negative spaces of his pendants and earrings. He won several awards for his work which was mostly one-of-a-kind.
|Winifred Mason & Chenet d'Haiti||Winifred Mason began her
jewelry career in New York where she made copper jewelry out of her
home and also taught jewelry classes at the Children's Aid Society
in Harlem where she met Art Smith, after which Mason and Art Smith
worked together in a shop at 133 West 3rd Street in Greenwich
Village. Her jewelry sold well and she began selling through
In 1945 she was honored with a Rosenwald Foundation Award to "gather folk material and basic art patterns used by the West Indians and to express these feelings in jewelry. She went to Haiti where she met and married Jacque Chenet and started a line of jewelry titled "Chenet d' Haiti."
|Paul Miller||Work by Paul Miller (simply because of the name) is sometimes confused with that of John Paul Miller, even though there are very few similarities, if any, in the work itself. Paul Miller was a mid 20th century jeweler who did some very interesting, modernist, hand-forged work in silver. I have no biographical information on the artist and would love to know more.|
|Peggy Miller||Peggy Miller was a mid 20th century Baltimore jeweler who mostly worked in brass and sometimes brass with ebony. She may have studied with Betty Cooke.|
Miraglia worked in New York during the mid 20th century. He is
regarded as an accomplished modernist jeweler and his work is highly
Please note two different maker's marks for Frank Miraglia.
Morton's books, Contemporary Jewelry, a
Studio Handbook and
Contemporary Jewelry, a Craftsman's Handbook are invaluable
resources for collectors, jewelers and students who wish to learn
about the history of the modern studio jewelry movement and its
design principles, materials and techniques.
Morton's childhood and college days were spent in Utah. In the 1930s he took a course in jewelry design from a WPA sponsored art project and from that time forward, he made jewelry. His studies in contemporary art movements were done on his own.
During World War II he moved to California where his jewelry sold successfully at many of the leading shops in the San Francisco area. By 1946 he was also producing his own line of contemporary silverware and, in 1947, because of his success as a metalsmith and designer, he was invited to teach design at Alfred University at the School for American Craftsmen. A year later he took a position with the newly formed art department at the University of Minnesota where he taught three dimensional design, jewelry making and sculpture.
In 1951 he established the first bronze foundry in any American university art program. his own work, over the next few years was devoted to bronze sculpture and jewelry making.
Morton's work has been widely exhibited at museums in the United States and other countries.
(mark for E. Peter Peterson)
E. Peter Peterson
from the Cooper Union in New York City with a degree in fine arts.
She was a children's painting instructor at the Brooklyn Museum and
studied weaving, pottery, silkscreen, sculpture, jewelry making, and
silversmithing at the Craft Students League. She was the "Peter" of Peter
E. Peter Peterson and Jewelry Shop
on wooden base of sculpture
on silver pendant
Jack Nutting was
a member of the Metal Arts Guild of San Francisco, alongside
Margaret DePatta, merry renk,
Peter Macchiarini and Richard Gompf.
His jewelry designs are beautiful,
classically modern, and wearable. For a more complete biography of
Nutting, please read, "A
Classic Man in a Modern Idiom" by Sheila Pamfilloff, MODERN
SILVER magazine, 2013.
Most of his pieces are not marked, but he had two that he used on his sculptures and one (that we know of) for his jewelry.
|Otto Robert Bade (Orb)||"Orb" was founded by Otto Robert Bade in the 1950s in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He served as Rebajes' foreman in the 1940s and 50s and purchased Rebajes' designs and machinery before Rebajes moved to Spain.|
Earl Pardon (1926-1991) was first and foremost an artist who transferred ideas back and forth between the fine and plastic arts and was involved with both large-scale sculpture and jewelry, joining his love of painting and metalsmithing through his colorful enamel work.
Pardon attended Memphis Academy of Arts in 1951 and received a M.F.A. in painting from Syracuse University. His was recognized early-on for his work in jewelry; he received a scholarship to the 4th National Silversmith's Conference sponsored by Handy and Harman, and his work was included in exhibits throughout the United States including American Jewelry and Related Objects, a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Smithsonian in 1955.
Throughout his long career, which included designing for Towle Silvermiths, teaching art and metalsmithing in university settings, and taking part in numerous, prestigious exhibits, Pardon was recognized as one of the most important artist/jewelers of his time.
|James Parker||James Parker (1914-1987) was a San Diego native and educator. He was a professional craftsman who specialized in enamel work and silversmithing. There is an exhibit of his enamel work on permanent display at the Wichita, Kansas Contemporary Museum of Crafts, his work was exhibited widely in the Southwest, I believe he may also have some items in a museum in Oakland, CA.|
|Ronald Hayes Pearson||Ronald Hayes Pearson
(d. 1977) is known for his clean modernist designs in silver, bronze
and gold. He studied metalsmithing at the School for American
Craftsmen under Philip Morton in the late 1940s. In the 1950s, along
with silversmith Jack Prip and woodworker Tage Frid, Pearson opened
Shop One. Though Pearson never "joined academia" he taught classes
at schools such as Haystack and Black Mountain College. Pearson
supported himself, his entire life, as a full time craftsman. His
work was included in many prestigious exhibits and won many grants,
prizes and awards throughout his lifetime.
|Miriam Peck||Miriam Peck exhibited at the Walker Art Center in 1955. She attended Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art and created enamel jewelry in mostly abstract designs on fine silver and copper.|
|Robert Pierron||Robert Pierron 1919-2006), worked in Chicago. He worked in jewelry and sculpture with metals and wood and also taught jewelry classes. He exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago.|
||Earl Montrose Pilgrim||
Earle Montrose Pilgrim (1923-1976) was a native of Brooklyn, New York. He enlisted in the army in 1943, during WWII. After his stint in the army, he went to Greenwich Village where he learned the art of jewelry making from Sam Kramer. He also studied at the Art Students League and, at one point, worked for Sotheby's.
In 1951, he and his wife, Lily Touma went to Provincetown where they had a shop at 393 Commercial Street. Earle painted and made jewelry and Lily made dolls and hook rugs and wrote for the Advocate. Earl also taught jewelry in the Cape Cod public school system and studied painting under Henry Hensche.
During the 1950s, Pilgrim also
established a presence in Boston, at 80 West Cedar Street on Beacon
Hill. In 1954, the Pilgrim’s moved to Boston full time and Earle
continued to sell “Jewelry Originals, Paintings, and Curiosa” out of
Earle Pilgrim suffered a mental breakdown and sometime between 1960-1962 was institutionalized ( according to documents in the archives). He spend the rest of his life in and out of institutions.
During Earle Pilgrim’s final years he lived in a loft
with his wife Lily at 275 Church Street, above La Monte Young and
Marian Zazeela. These important American artists eventually
transformed the Pilgrim’s loft into Dream House (http://melafoundation.org/dream02.htm)
a minimalist sound and light installation that has been continuous
for over twenty years.
This mark is not the
mark for Phyllis W. Jacobs as I previously thought. It is the
jewelry maker's mark of Phyllis Sklar.
This information if provided by Adam Wright of www.themodernistexchange.com
An article about Phyllis Sklar by Adam Wright is upcoming in this magazine so please stay tuned!
Pedro Pujol was a silver/coppersmith in Greenwich Village in the 1940s-50s. According to Armand Winfield, Pujol and Rebajes would have daily fights in the street over who copied whose designs (which was good for business because of the attention it gathered). It is rarer to find pieces by Pujol than Rebajes since, as far as I know, he never went into serious production. Some say he was Rebajes's brother, but I do not have proof of that.
|Francisco Rebajes||Francisco (Frank) Rebajes (1907-1990) was one of the first studio jewelers to open an actual shop in Greenwich Village. He came to New York from the Dominican Republic, arriving in New York with little over three hundred dollars. His first pieces were hammered from tin cans and scrap metal. He rose from poverty to become a successful artist and business man with a beautiful shop on Fifth Avenue and a workshop with over a hundred artisans. His work was included in many early exhibitions and he received a bronze medal for his work at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques in Paris in 1937 and a gold medal for his sculptures at the theater in the United States Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Later in life, he moved to Spain where he created mostly sculpture.|
merry renk (one of my very favorite American studio jewelers) has played a very important role in the American studio jewelry movement since the 1950s. In the late 1940s, she studied with Laszlo Maholy-Nagy in Chicago, where she opened a gallery called "750 Studio." She began working with wire, forming simple shapes into designs for jewelry.
In 1948, she moved to California where she worked full time making jewelry. She is well-known for work in enamels and interlocking forms. In 1974, renk received a National Endowment of the Arts Craftsmen Award for her work with plique-a-jour enameling. She had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1954, The M.H. De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco in 1971, The Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of History and Technology, Washington D.C. in 1971, and a retrospective at the California Crafts Museum in Palo Alto in 1981.
|Walter Rhodes||Walter Rhodes was born in New York City where he studied at the Arts Students League. He worked as a silversmith in Tappan, New York. His jewelry was mostly one-of-a-kind, and abstract, constructed out of cutout biomorphic silver shapes with a conservative use of stones.|
Ruth Roach (1913-1979) was an extraordinary, multitalented artist/craftsman who made a significant impact on the art world during her relatively short career. She studied painting in Chicago, both at the Chicago Art Institute and with William Henry Watson. She later took all the available art courses at the State College of Iowa. She became a potter, but later, in 1954, decided to concentrate on jewelry after studying with Robert von Neumann. Roach had her first one-man show at the Des Moines Art Center in 1954, participated in the Third National Exhibition of Contemporary Jewelers at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1955, and, for the next fourteen years, exhibited widely across the United States. Since everything she created was intricate in nature and completely one-of-a-kind, her pieces are not readily available. This collection comes from her family and has never before been on the market.
Please Ruth Roach, Uncommon Jeweler, MODERN SILVER magazine, Aug/Sept, 2002.
|Roach 2||"Roach2" is the mark and jewelry of Bill and Patsy Roach. Bill was the son of Ruth Roach (see above). Patsy's fascination with the jewelry of Ruth Roach brought her together with Bill and after their marriage in 1959 she began making jewelry, encouraged by her mother-in-law. Bill and Patsy created Roach2 (signifying their union) and began showing their beautiful, unique handmade jewelry in 1961, winning many prizes and purchase awards at the national shows in which they participated. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and museums in Iowa. Please see: Roach2, A Love Story at MODERN SILVER magazine.|
|Carolyn Rosene||Peripatetic jeweler
Caroline Gleick Rosene studied in St. Louis, Missouri;
Cambridge, Massachusetts; Paris, France; Honolulu, Hawaii; New York
City; and San Francisco, California. She was the director for
the City Art Museum in St. Louis and the Art Center at Fitchburg,
Rosene was a studio jeweler with her own shop. She participated in numerous national exhibitions. Her work was mostly hand constructed from silver, sometimes with wood, coral, or other stones. She also worked in gold.
|Herman Roth||Herman Roth studied at the Crafts Students League and the Museum of Modern Art. He was an instructor in art metal at the 92nd Street "Y" in New York and worked in many metals, especially sterling silver. He used ivory, ebony and enamels to accentuate his designs and showed a silver and wood shuttle pin in the Walker Art Center's Contemporary Jewelry Exhibit on Paper, issue #33, Design Quarterly, 1955.|
|George Salo||George Salo exhibited at the Third National Exhibition of Contemporary Jewelry at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1955. He was a member of the American modernist movement of that period and was from Sutton, New Hampshire. His work was modernist and mostly hand formed.|
|Christian Schmidt was a
Minnesota studio jeweler who exhibited at the Walker Art Center in
1955. He did magnificent designs based on intricate plant and pod
forms. He was a friend and colleague of Ruth Roach.
He exhibited at the 1956 "American Jewelry and Related Objects" competition in Rochester, New York where he won "Best in Class Awards" for a silver and gold pendant and a gold and ebony bracelet as well as a purchase prize for a silver bracelet. He also won awards at the 1959 Midwest Designer-Craftsmen competition and the 1958 and 1959 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competitions.
He was considered to be one of the foremost designer-craftsmen in the United States during his short career and was one of twelve jewelers whose work was accepted for exhibition at the Brussels World's Fair.
|Mary Schimpff (Webb)||In 1954, in an article titled “Five Contemporary Jewelers,” published in American Craft Magazine, Mary Schimpff’s jewelry was shown alongside that of Margaret De Patta, Bob Winston, Paul Miller, and Robert Von Neumann. Though not as well known within the collecting public, her work compares favorably with the best of mid-20th century modernist jewelry. Like De Patta, Schimpff is a perfectionist and a modernist whose designs are based on the integration of form and function. Her work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art and is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. She has won four De Beers Diamonds--International Awards, has been awarded an honorary membership in the De Beers Diamonds International Academy exhibitions, and her work has been included in the Trieniale Di Milano, Italy; The International Schmuckschau, Munich, Germany; and the Centenary in Johannesburg commemorating the discovery of South Africa's first diamond.|
|Winfred Clark Shaw||Winifred Clark Shaw
attended Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where, in
1953, she received a Master of Fine Arts degree with a major in
metalsmithing and a minor in weaving. Her large body of work
demonstrates her refined sense of color and material in both linear
and three-dimensional design. Of particular interest are her pieces
that combine original weavings with metals.
Shaw participated in many important national mid-20th century exhibits including Midwest Designer Craftsmen (1954), The Chicago Art Institute; American Jewelry Today (1963), Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Craftsmen of the Eastern States (1963), Worcester, Massachusetts; Jewelry 64 (1964), State University College, Plattsburgh, New York; Decorative Arts Exhibition (1964), Wichita, Kansas; as well as many juried exhibitions in New Hampshire and a retrospective exhibit at the University of New Hampshire in 1987.
Her work was also included in the League of New Hampshire exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Winifred Clark Shaw taught jewelry making and weaving at the University of New Hampshire for thirty-three years beginning in 1954.
Source: Win's Best: The Jewelry and Weaving of Winifred Clark Shaw, The University of New Hampshire, 1987
Pearl Shecter received her M.F.A. at Columbia University. She
studied abstract painting at the Hans Hoffman School of Fine Arts, New
York and also attended the Chicago Bauhaus School of Moholy-Nagy.
Her interest in jewelry was furthered by studies in enameling and
metalsmithing with Adda Husted-Andersen in New York City. Shecter
maintained a studio in New York for many years while also teaching at
New York University and directing the art department at the Little Red
Schoolhouse High School.
Shecter's jewelry was mainly abstract and constructed, not cast. She mostly worked with silver and sometimes wire which she wrapped around rough-cut stones or used to create fluid, linear definition around or within her compositions. She made hair combs and ankle bracelets as well as more common jewelry forms
H. Fred Skaggs is the epitome of the
'accidental Modernist'. In 1956, Skaggs moved to Scottsdale, Arizona and
opened a shop in the Lloyd Kiva Craft Center. He thought he was simply
making his jewelry but he inspired an entire generation of celebrated
and highly collectible silver artists. Christie Romero's 3rd edition of
'Warman's Jewelry' hails Skaggs as a 'Mid Century Modern Master' and
touts Skaggs' influence on Charles Loloma, THE famed Native American
silversmith. Loloma credits Fred 'for inspiring him and teaching him to
make jewelry'. Skaggs died in 1982 and his widow kept his shop open
until just recently when the area became too touristy to do proper honor
to the past.
Taken from http://www.silverhuntress.com
|Olaf Skoogfors||Swedish-born Olaf Skoogfors thought of his jewelry as sculpture that could stand alone as art. He had a studio in Philadelphia, and taught at the Philadelphia College of Art. He had a distinguished career in metalsmithing and is widely recognized for his work which is in the permanent collection of many museums in the US, Canada, and Europe. He died in 1975 at the age of 45.|
Art Smith (1917-1982) was a New York silversmith who's African American heritage influenced his sculptural jewelry forms. More than any other modernist jeweler of his day, Art Smith was concerned with ornamenting the human form. His primitive-inspired, biomorphic constructions can only be truly understood in relation to the body. "A piece of jewelry, he said, "is a whatisit? until you relate it to the body...Like line, form and color, the body is a material to work with. It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form... Art Smith's work is featured at the Brooklyn Museum in a permanent exhibit and is in the collections of many major museums and collections.
|Noble Smith||Noble Smith was the pen name of Shirley Smith, an extremely talented silversmith who graduated from high school in 1946 and then attended the Boston Museum School in the early 1950s. The design quality of her work is equal to that of some of the more well known and well respected artist/jewelers of the mid 20th century.|
|Henry Steig||Henry Steig (1906-1973) had a shop in New York in the 1950s-1960s. Jazz had a significant influence on his work--Steig was a musician who played saxophone and clarinet with dance bands in New York during the 1920s-30s. He studied art at the National Academy of Design, but was mostly a self-taught metalsmith. His jewelry designs are modern and sophisticated, evidencing his training in design and sculpture.|
|Bill Tendler||Bill Tendler was an American modernist jeweler who hand made pieces in his studio/shop in New York's Greenwich Village from 1952-1981.|
|Harold Tishler||Harold Tishler (1893-1993) was a
Russian/American enamelist who was formally trained as a painter.
While in the Merchant Marine, during World War II, he was exposed to
oriental cloisonné enamels which began his lifelong love affair with
the art of enameling. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in
Vienna, returning each summer to teach arts and crafts at summer
camps in Massachusetts. In 1932, he moved to New York where he
produced enamels for high-end shops and taught enameling courses at
the New School for Social Research.
His work was exhibited in museum shows and he won many awards for his work.
Taken from Painting with Fire, Masters of Enameling in America by Bernard Jazzar and Harold B. Nelson. Please see: Enamored of Enamel by Susan Crosby
|Lois Franke Warren||California jeweler,
Lois Franke Warren received her B.A. in art from the University
of Los Angeles and her M.A. form California State College, also in
Los Angeles. She wrote a book titled, Handwrought Jewelry
In the 1950s, Warren studied both silversmithing and ceramics with notables, Carleton Ball, Laura Andreson, Hudson Roysher, and Baron Erik Fleming. She also studied enameling with Atzie Schiff in Los Angeles and became a graduate gemologist through the G.I.A.
She became a teacher for the Los Angeles City School District, where she was chairman of the art department. She lead many workshops and seminars dealing with jewelry and crafts. From 1967-1971 she was a professor of art history and humanities at Los Angeles Southwest College and from 1971-1993 was an art instructor at the Los Rios Community College.
Her own work is modernist and beautifully handcrafted in gold, silver with stones and sometimes enamels.
|Edward Winter||Edward Winter (1908-1976) is a very important figure in the history and art of enameling in the United States. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art, graduating in 1931. Later he traveled to Vienna where he studied enameling and metalwork with Josef Hoffmann after which he became committed to enameling as his medium, executing designs in a modernist aesthetic. Winter won numerous prizes for his beautiful and well-respected enamels and wrote several books on the subject of enameling.|
|Ed Wiener||Ed Wiener (1918-1991) was one of the most well-loved and respected modernist jewelers of his day. Though almost entirely self-taught, he possessed a magnificent appreciation of form, line, and color together with an amazing ability to uniquely apply the ideas and principles of modernism to his life's work.|
native, Byron Wilson was a mostly self-taught metalsmith who
began creating sculpture and jewelry in the 1940s. He belonged
to the San Francisco Metal Art's guild along with Margaret De Patta
and Peter Macchiarini. By the 1950s, Wilson had become a
significant influence in the California studio jewelry movement and
began to receive awards at numerous exhibitions and fairs throughout
the United States.
In 1956 Wilson was hired to teach metalsmithing at the California College of Arts & Crafts where he created a metal sculpture foundry for the casting of large metal sculptures.
|Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry||
Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry, a gallery/workshop located in Greenwich Village during the 1940s. Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry was the brainchild of Armand Winfield (1919 - 2009), who developed one of the first commercial, mass production embedding processes using crystal clear acrylics. All the pieces in the collection were made between 1946-1948.
Art students from New York City's prestigious Cooper Union were brought together to produce original signed miniature works of art which were encased in plastics and sold as jewelry. The jewelry became very popular and feature stories about Winfield Fine Art appeared in a 1947 issue of Cosmopolitan, the New Yorker, Plastics Magazine, the Newark Evening News, the Village Chatter, and the European and Australian press. Bert Parks interviewed Armand Winfield on radio and an article about the jewelry appeared in Vogue Magazine. The business began in 1946 and closed in 1948.
Twenty-one pieces of Mr. Winfield's work were archived into the Smithsonian Institution's National Design Museum in 2000 and his jewelry and a photograph of him are displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. See: "Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry, a fusion of art and scientific discovery," MODERN SILVER magazine, February/March, 2003. www.modernsilver.com/winfieldfineart.htm
Marci Zelmanoff was born in 1942 in Philadelphia. She studied at the Rhode Island school of Design and received a MFA at Southern Illinois University. She began her career as a painter, but switched to sculpture in 1964. Her primary influences were her teachers, Brent Kington and Olaf Skoogfors. She had a "one man" show at the Edward Sherbeyn Gallery in Chicago in 1971. Her jewelry was described in "Craft Horizons" as incorporating "tenth century Celtic art, art nouveau, and the irreconcilable present." Marci Zelmanoff is also recognized in "Jewelry Concepts and Technology" by Oppi Untracht.
|Ziegfeld||Ernest Ziegfeld, 1912-2004, was an jewelry instructor at Long Beach State College in California. He graduated from Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield and received his Master of Fine Arts degree at Cranbrook. He also attended Washington University in St. Louis and New Mexico Highlands University. In 1959, he was Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Utah State University in Logan teaching metalsmithing and three-dimensional design from his Hyde Park Studio. He produced Hollowware, flatware, jewelry, and woodenware. He exhibited in the Walker Art Center's Second Contemporary Exhibit on Paper. He worked with Harry Bertoia—probably meeting him in Cranbrook and again in California and some of his jewelry is very reminiscent of the work of Bertoia.|
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Article by Marbeth Schon
Photographs by Marbeth Schon, Gary Kilgore, and Glenn Pamfiloff
Web Design by Marbeth Schon www.mschon.com
comments are invited.
© copyright MODERN SILVER magazine, 2013