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Sam Kramer. Jeweler on the Edge in Munich

Exhibition  /  MunichJewelleryWeek2020  /  12 Mar 2020
Published: 11.02.2020
Antic Figure, pendant, ca. 1946. Photograph by Marvin Koner courtesy Marc McDonald..
Antic Figure, pendant, ca. 1946. Photograph by Marvin Koner courtesy Marc McDonald.

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Intro
Sam Kramer (1913 - 1964) was one of the most influential eccentric American jewellery artists of the modern age. His expressively surreal, organic work along with his workshop in the heart of New York’s most lively and creative district of the day, Greenwich Village, paved the way for many other key mid-twentieth-century metalsmiths - and for many more working today. The new book on Sam Kramer presents an exciting and humorous look at the life and work of one of the great pioneers of contemporary art jewellery, who despite great popularity during his lifetime is no less worthy of discovery today.

Artist list

Sam Kramer
As an artist whose declared aim was to make jewellery as expressive as painting and sculpture, Sam Kramer was a true original. As a figure of contemporary history in post-war America, he reflected both the existential angst and the quirky humour of the Beat Generation and embodied the iconoclastic spirit of his time. Ultimately he was an extremely adept entrepreneur. He succeeded in earning a substantial living from his business, and his publicity stunts were way ahead of their time. As early as 1955 - fourteen years before the first Moon landing - he had models in astronaut costumes ride scooters through New York distributing flyers for his gallery. Stylistically, his jewellery borders on the bizarre. His nightmarish creatures, which sometimes suggest embryonic monsters, as Kramer himself quipped, appear as though forged in a frenzy. He frequently furnished his heavy silver pendants, brooches, bracelets and rings with glass taxidermy eyes, bones, tusks, fossils, ancient East Indian coins or old buttons from underground-railway uniforms as well as rare semi-precious stones. At the same time, he was unusually sensitive to the demands of the material and advocated an understanding of the metal’s properties, a sense of its nature and an anticipation of its final form.

In Toni Greenbaum's new book Sam Kramer: Jeweler on the edge, she traces Kramer’s life and work with wit and charm - from the unique handling of his favoured material, silver, to curiosities such as the attempt to make jewellery from his wife’s gallstones. Pieces from renowned private and museum collections provide an unprecedented overview of Kramer’s work, while photos and documents from the family archive conjure up anew the spirit of the 1940s - 1960s.

Talk, Sale, Book presentation:
Join AJF and Arnoldsche Art Publishers for Psychoanalysis in Silver: The Fantastical Jewelry of Sam Kramer, a talk by author Toni Greenbaum, plus a sale and signing of her new book, Sam Kramer: Jeweler on the edge. Exhibition of selected studio jewelry pieces by Kramer will accompany the book presentation.
 

Hours

Hours: Thursday, March 12, 9:00 - 11:00 pm.
Doors open at 9:00 to enjoy coffee and pastries, and the talk will begin at 9:30.
Sam Kramer. Brooch: Untitled, 1940s. Silver, glass taxidermy eye, garnet.. 11.43 x 6.35 x 2.86 cm. Photo by: Joe Gold. Collection Kenneth J. Dukoff.. Sam Kramer
Brooch: Untitled, 1940s
Silver, glass taxidermy eye, garnet.
11.43 x 6.35 x 2.86 cm
Photo by: Joe Gold
Collection Kenneth J. Dukoff.

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Sam Kramer. Ring: Untitled, ca.1950. Silver, semi-precious stones.. 6 x 4.5 x 3.8 cm. Photo by: Joe Gold. Private collection.. Sam Kramer
Ring: Untitled, ca.1950
Silver, semi-precious stones.
6 x 4.5 x 3.8 cm
Photo by: Joe Gold
Private collection.

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Sam Kramer. Brooch: Polyp, 1940s. Silver, citrine, light green stone.. 9.53 x 8.89 x 3.3 cm. Photo by: Joe Gold. Collection Kenneth J. Dukoff.. Sam Kramer
Brooch: Polyp, 1940s
Silver, citrine, light green stone.
9.53 x 8.89 x 3.3 cm
Photo by: Joe Gold
Collection Kenneth J. Dukoff.

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Sam Kramer. Pendant: Cyclops, 1946. Silver, banded agate, semi-precious stone.. 11.43 x 5.39 x 0.32 cm. Photo by: Chad Redmon. Collection Deedie Rose, promised gift to the Dallas Museum of Art.. Sam Kramer
Pendant: Cyclops, 1946
Silver, banded agate, semi-precious stone.
11.43 x 5.39 x 0.32 cm
Photo by: Chad Redmon
Collection Deedie Rose, promised gift to the Dallas Museum of Art.

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Sam Kramer. Carol Kramer. Brooch: Dancers, 1947. Silver, gold, peridot, garnets, tourmaline.. 13.5 x 6.5 x 2.4 cm. Photo by: Giles Rivest The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Designed by Sam Kramer and Carol Kramer; executed by Carol Kramer.
. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection.. Sam Kramer
Carol Kramer
Brooch: Dancers, 1947
Silver, gold, peridot, garnets, tourmaline.
13.5 x 6.5 x 2.4 cm
Photo by: Giles Rivest The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Designed by Sam Kramer and Carol Kramer; executed by Carol Kramer.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection.

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Sam Kramer. Pendant: Dancer, 1946. Silver.. 15.24 x 11.43 x 2.54 cm. Photo by: Joe Gold. Collection John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.. Sam Kramer
Pendant: Dancer, 1946
Silver.
15.24 x 11.43 x 2.54 cm
Photo by: Joe Gold
Collection John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.

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Sam Kramer. Pendant: Dancer, 1940s. Silver, gold, turquoise, spinel, garnet, moonstone.. 12 x 5 x 2.54 cm. Photo by: Joe Gold. Private collection.. Sam Kramer
Pendant: Dancer, 1940s
Silver, gold, turquoise, spinel, garnet, moonstone.
12 x 5 x 2.54 cm
Photo by: Joe Gold
Private collection.

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Sam Kramer, 1940s. Photograph by Saul Dash courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer..
Sam Kramer, 1940s. Photograph by Saul Dash courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.

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Sam and Carol Kramer, 1940s. Photograph by Saul Dash, courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.
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Sam and Carol Kramer, 1940s. Photograph by Saul Dash, courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.
 

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Flyer, 1940s–1950s. Courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer..
Flyer, 1940s–1950s. Courtesy John (Chico) Kramer and Carol Jane Kramer.

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