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Remembering
Florence Resnikoff

1920 - 2013

 

Florence Resnikoff, one of the GREATS of the American modernist studio jewelry movement, passed away in April, 2013. 

She enjoyed a long careerher first pieces were created in 1949 and she continued to work well into the 21st century.   She mastered a variety of techniques including electroforming, anodizing, plique-a-jour, keum-boo, and makume gane. She worked in gold, platinum, pewter, copper, bronze and refractory metals such as titanium and niobium.

She taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts from 1973 - 1989, retiring as Professor Emerita. 

In 1985, Resnikoff was named a California Living Treasure. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the City and County of San Francisco, The California Art Collection of the Oakland Art Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY. Her work was exhibited in Modernist Jewelry at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in 2008 and, in 2012, an early sterling silver neck piece by Resnikoff was featured in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art show California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way.

In 2008, Florence came to the exhibit Modernist Jewelry at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, for which I was a guest curator and the author of the catalog. She was very supportive of the project and excited about the inclusion of her work.

It's difficult to consider a world without this treasured jewelry artist.

Marbeth Schon

I  first met Florence Resnikoff and merry Renk in 2006 and it was because of these two women and Peter Macchiarini that I first began planning the modernist jewelry exhibit at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

Merry was a very sweet lady who went through her detailed archive with me one afternoon at her house on Saturn street in the hills above San Francisco. She was watching both her very ill husband who was suffering from peripheral vascular disease and babysitting her granddaughter but still spent the entire afternoon "entertaining" me with stories of her life and work including her meeting with Constantine Brancusi and her studies with Moholy Nagy. This led her to open with two fellow students the first shop for "non-objective" art in Chicago. She also showed me some of the watercolors she did when she and her husband traveled to southeast Asia and specifically to Vietnam. She was kind enough to write a long note regarding the creative process which led her to make one of her pieces which I happened to purchase. She was a very sensitive woman who lived a full and interesting life and she clearly indicated to me her love of her family and her work. She was ve ry happy to come to Fort Wayne for what I liked to call their last sorority/fraternity party.

I also spent an afternoon with Florence Resnikoff who was so vibrant at her advanced age and very excited about the new work she was doing at the time. At her studio in Oakland she explained her working processes to me with alacrity and had just completed a CD regarding her work at the request of the Smithsonian. She was thoroughly involved in the understanding of the physics and chemistry of the refractory metals, titanium, niobium and tantalum in her latest work and was still experimenting in the construction of jewelry with these metals. She was also able to attend the opening exhibition in Fort Wayne and was so generous in giving me as a thank you a belt buckle and money clip which she made in the 1950s.

I have such fond memories of both of them and the world will be a less beautiful place without them.

Fred Doloresco
 


Florence Resnikoff  in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2008


Florence Resnikoff, Lois Franke Warren, merry renk, and Richard Gompf in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2008

merry renk in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2008


Left: Fred Doloresco, Florence Resnikoff,
 Lois Franke Warren
Right, Dodie Doloresco, Sheila Pamfiloff, merry renk, Richard Gompf, and Marbeth Schon in  Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2008

Florence Resnikoff was one of the early pioneers of the studio jewelry movement in California, and a founding member of the Metal Arts Guild in the Bay Area. Her work from the period is quintessential mid century modernist design, and her place in the history of the craft is assured.

Patrick Kapty
Please also see:
http://metalartsguildsf.org/mag-members-in-memoriam/
   
Copyright
Modern Silver magazine 2013