News Articles Library Event Photos Contact Search

Displaying items by tag: silversmith

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, at 4PM, Jay Robert Stiefel, a lawyer and well-known collector and historian of American decorative arts, will give a lecture entitled “Leather Apron Men: Benjamin Franklin & Philadelphia’s Artisans” at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The event, which is under the auspices of Yale's History Department, is free and open to the public.

The illustrated talk will center on Benjamin Franklin’s work as an artisan as well as his role in fostering the public appreciation of his fellow craftsmen. One of America’s foremost founding fathers and the country’s first printing magnate, Franklin tended toward self-deprecation, writing in a 1740 issue of his “Pennsylvania Gazette” that he was no more than “a poor ordinary mechanick of this City.” But Franklin, who crafted witty editorial that promoted and encouraged his fellow artisans and founded such enduring cultural institutions as the Library Company of Philadelphia and the American Philosophical Society, served as a role model for his peers. In addition to encouraging many Philadelphia artisans to elevate themselves, Franklin provided them with opportunities for education that had previously been reserved for the privileged. Stiefel will illustrate Franklin’s profound influence with pieces of furniture and fine art, including “Handiworks” made by Franklin and other admired Philadelphia artisans.

Published in News
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 17:23

Modern Design Masters: Paul Evans

Few individuals have had as profound an effect on American furniture design as Paul Evans (1931-1987). A leading figure in the midcentury American studio furniture movement, Evans consistently pushed boundaries with his innovative approaches to metalsmithing and furniture-making. His transcendent works, which defied what everyday objects looked like and how they were made, continue to reveal the fascinating crosscurrents between sculpture and design.

Evans began working with metal in the early 1950s -- first at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen (SAC) in Rochester, New York, where he studied under the influential American silversmiths and designers John (Jack) Prip and Lawrence Copeland, and later at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Published in News

“I didn’t think in a million years that something like this was gonna happen in my life,” said Lee Yazzie, a famed Navajo jeweler, as he stood next to an exhibit of his and his family’s jewelry work at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in New York. Yazzie, who has worked as a silversmith since the late 1960’s said that, as he departed for New York, he told people back home that he would only believe what was happening when he would see it.

“Glittering World: the Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family” is a retrospective into the decades-long work of the Gallup, New Mexico, family in the intricate art of Navajo jewelry design.

Published in News

Christie’s London will offer a Rococo coffee-pot by Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751), the most celebrated British silversmith of the 18th century, as part of its Exceptional Sale on July 4, 2013. The George II silver coffee-pot, which was commissioned in 1738 by a wealthy London-based merchant, is expected to become the most valuable piece of English silver ever to be sold at auction. The masterpiece was recently the highlight of a British silver exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Lamerie, who began his career in 1703 as an apprentice to the London goldsmith, Pierre Platel (1659-1739), opened his own workshop in 1713 and was soon appointed goldsmith to George I. His work evolved from simple Queen Anne styles to classical French designs, but his ornate Rococo works of the 1730s are his most admired pieces. Lamerie’s illustrious clientele included Sir Robert Walpole, King John V of Portugal, and Queen Elizabeth II, who he made a wedding gift for.

The coffee-pot heading to auction in July is expected to garner approximately $4.5 million.

Published in News

Despite its stellar reputation, the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection of early American silver has spent the past ten years in storage. Much to the public’s satisfaction, the museum recently decided to put 59 of its most important works back on view.

The Detroit Institute’s silver collection was placed in storage in 2002 while the museum’s historic building was undergoing renovations, which lead to the closure of the American colonial galleries. When the revamped museum reopened in 2007, depleted funds rendered the institution unable to buy new exhibition cases for the silver collection. It wasn’t until 2011 when the Michigan-based Americana Foundation awarded the Detroit Institute a grant that the museum was able to obtain state-of-the-art exhibition cases for their silver collection. The Americana Foundation’s grant also supported new research on the museum’s silver collection.

The Detroit Institute of the Art’s new installation includes American silver as well as two important pieces of late 18th century Chinese export bowls. Highlights include a tankard made in Boston by Edward Winslow (1669-1753) in approximately 1695; a sugar bowl with cover made in New York by Myer Myers (1723-1795), the preeminent Jewish silversmith in colonial America; and a sugar basket made by silversmith and patriot Paul Revere (173-1818) in 1780.

Published in News