American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation
The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann
Marie Zimmermann (1879–1972), a true eclectic in her personal life, her professional pursuits, and her creative expression, has proven an elusive character for historians. Her skill as a designer and prodigious output of extraordinary jewelry and metalwork in the early 20th century have routinely caught people by surprise. At its best, Zimmermann's work is beguiling and exhilarating, exploring a wide range of innovative approaches to pattern, material, and surface. The diversity of her oeuvre, including work in gold, silver, bronze, copper, and iron, is as astonishing as the boldness of the life she led.
In 2011, ADA1900 Foundation, in association with Yale University Press, published The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann. This book gathers for the first time the story of Zimmermann's life and work and puts a spotlight on one of the most singular makers of metalwork active in early-20th-century America. Essays by leading scholars in the decorative arts offer extensive new research on Zimmermann and her work, while more than 500 gorgeous full-color images show the breadth and novelty of her design practice.
Marie Zimmermann designed some of the most singular jewelry and metalwork of the early twentieth century. Her creations in gold, silver, bronze, copper and iron explored a
wide range of approaches to design, experimenting freely with materials, surface, color and applied ornament. The first book on this intriguing American designer chronicles her unconventional life and places her eclectic designs in the context of historical precedents—including Egyptian, Classical and Chinese—and the works of her contemporaries—including American and European designers of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Deco. This study applies traditional art historical approaches as well as detailed formal and stylistic analyses to the full scope of Zimmermann’s works.
The independent daughter of prosperous Swiss immigrants, Zimmermann grew up in Brooklyn and was educated at the Packer Collegiate Institute, Art Students’ League and Pratt Institute.
She lived and ran her studio for over twenty-five years at the National Arts Club in New York. Extensive new information is presented on Zimmermann’s network of skilled artisans; her relationships with friends, clients and tastemakers; her commissions from silverware to domestic interiors to memorials; her coverage in the design press; and her participation in exhibitions of modern design around the country. Beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated, this definitive volume draws on extensive new and historic photography and the Zimmermann family’s archives.
The Marie Zimmermann book project was made possible through a generous grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation.
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