ART SMITH: STERLING SILVER AND MOONSTONE NECKLACE, CIRCA 1950

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Lot 82
ART SMITH: STERLING SILVER AND MOONSTONE NECKLACE, CIRCA 1950

US$ 4,000 - 6,000
£ 2,900 - 4,400

California Jewels

20 Jul 2021, 10:00 PDT

Los Angeles

ART SMITH: STERLING SILVER AND MOONSTONE NECKLACE, CIRCA 1950
In a collar design with a crescent-shaped pendant fixed with a round-shaped cabochon-cut moonstone, length 12 1/2in., signed Art Smith

Footnotes

  • One of the leading mid-century modern jewelers, Art Smith (1917–1982) created dynamic jewelry influenced by biomorphism and Surrealism. Typically, he worked in brass and copper, sometimes in sterling silver, and very rarely in gold. Smith sold his jewelry from a shop in Greenwich Village from 1946 until 1979. During his life, his work was featured in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Since the early 2000s, museums around the world have avidly collected examples of his work, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Newark Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The exhibition From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2008 helped renew interest in this important Afro-Cuban artist.

    The six lots on offer are from one collector who recalls her mother befriending Art Smith in the late 1940s. She acquired several pieces from Smith's Greenwich Village store. The private collector consignor said: "All of Mom's pieces were either purchased by her from Art Smith, by my father as a gift for my mother, or were a gift from Art Smith to my mother. Her choices were sculptural, elegant pieces of art, ahead of their time and timeless statement pieces designed to be worn every day.

    "My sister and I grew up hearing stories of Art Smith, who was a larger-than-life character from Greenwich Village. In the late 1940s, my parents lived in New York City and became friends with Art Smith. Mom's memory of him was that of a tall (to her) openly gay black man with a shaved head wearing an earring. He made an impression on her, selling his designs from his own shop on Cornelia Street. She explained to us what a rarity this was in the 1940s, and how much courage it took for him to live his life."

    -Sarah Davis
Contacts
ART SMITH: STERLING SILVER AND MOONSTONE NECKLACE, CIRCA 1950
ART SMITH: STERLING SILVER AND MOONSTONE NECKLACE, CIRCA 1950
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