I am inspired by jewelry artists past and present. Today's Artist to Know is one of my favorites. Enjoy his unique and inspiring work.

Art Smith (1917 - 1982)

Art Smith was a Jewelry Artist who designed avant-garde jewelry in the 1950's. Considering that Smith was a gay black man, his work was admired and commissioned by several stores including Bloomingdales and featured in Vogue and Harpers magazine.

Art was part of the American modernist jewelry movement. He viewed the human body as a armature for his jewelry, and it was an incomplete sculptural expression until it was related to the body.

His work included large asymmetrical necklaces and earrings that were hand-hammered from wire and sheet. He liked to create large cuff bracelets that covered the entire forearm and large rings.

Smith opened a shop in Little Italy in New York City in 1946, and moved his shop to Greenwich Village in 1948, where he stayed until ill health forced him to close in 1979.

Smith was lucky to have enjoyed a certain amount of recognition while he lived. He was included in several exhibitions and sold to craft shops across the country.

Two noteworthy commissions were a brooch presented to Eleanor Roosevelt and cuff links for Duke Ellington.

You can read more on Art Smith at modernsilver.com.

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  1. I think I just had an eye orgasm... This stuff is beautiful! :-)

  2. Beautiful work and timeless - in the sense that you could wear one of those creations today and it would look as modern for 2010 as it did for the 1950's (hope I make sense here)!

  3. Valerie, I totally agree. I would wear one of his pieces today if I could.

  4. These are so fantastic, I can hardly handle it. What a unique perspective on jewelry.

  5. Eye Orgasim is a new one but very appropriate. Deffinatly some inspiration, makes me feel not so bad about some of my ideas.


Your thoughts and ideas are an important part of the conversation, thanks for sharing!