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Sam Kramer. Jeweler on the Edge

Book  /  Artists   Arnoldsche   Catalogues   History
Published: 10.02.2020
Sam Kramer. Jeweler on the Edge.
Toni Greenbaum
Edited by:
Arnoldsche Art Publishers
Technical data:
160 pages 24.5 x 17.5 cm, 120 illustrations, hardcover, English
ISBN / ISSN:
978-3-89790-564-1
Price: 
from 28 €
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Arnoldsche Art Publishers
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20% Discount for klimt02 members
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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.
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.

Toni Greenbaum 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 sale and signing.


About Sam Kramer
1913: Born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 22.
1932-34: Attended University of Pittsburgh.
1934-36: Attended University of Southern California.
Took jewelry courses with Glen Lukens. Graduated February 1936.
1936-38: Worked as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles and Hollywood, California. Made jewelry for personal satisfaction.
1938: Returned to Pittsburgh. Did benchwork for David Helfer Jewelers. Studied gemstones and wrote on the subject. Experimented in a home studio with original jewelry techniques. Ran personal jewelry studio for six months.
1939: Relocated to New York City. Sold stones. Studied gemology at New York University. Moved into first Greenwich Village apartment/studio at 71 West 3rd Street.
1940: Married Carol Enners.
1941: Opened studio/shop at 29 West 8th Street.
1957: Divorced Carol Enners.
1958: Married Doris Ann Sherrill.
1962: Divorced Doris Ann Sherrill.
1964: Died from a heart ailment.
 

About the author

Toni Greenbaum is a New York-based art historian specializing in twentieth and twenty-first-century jewelry and metalwork. She wrote Messengers of Modernism: American Studio Jewelry 1940-1960, “Women Jewelry Designers” (with Pat Kirkham) in Women Designers in the USA 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference, “Body Sculpture: California Jewelry” in California Design: The Legacy of West Coast Craft and Style, and the jewelry and metalwork portions of Design 1935-1965: What Modern Was, along with countless book chapters, exhibition catalogues, and essays for art publications. Greenbaum has lectured internationally at institutions such as the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague; Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, British Columbia; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia. She has co-curated exhibitions for several museums, including the Victoria and Albert, London, and the Milton J. Weill Art Gallery, 92nd Street Y, New York. Greenbaum is a professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
 
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