The versatile jewelry designer and metalsmith Marie Zimmermann (1879-1972) is the subject of a forthcoming monograph sponsored by the American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1879, Zimmermann’s training in the arts began with courses in drawing, painting, and modeling at the Art Students League in New York likely followed by courses in art metalwork at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, 1901-1903. Zimmermann joined the National Arts Club in New York in 1901, and subsequently established a studio within its premises at 15 Gramercy Park. Zimmermann participated in exhibitions of arts and crafts and contemporary art nationwide throughout her career, beginning with entries in the “First Annual Exhibition of Original Designs for Decorations and Examples of Art Crafts” at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1902-03. She showed at the National Arts Club as well as at commercial galleries in New York City, and organized a one-person retrospective of her work at the Gibbes Art Gallery, Charleston, S.C., in 1935. Her final major exhibition was in Santa Barbara, California, in 1939. Contemporary art critics praised her various exhibition entries, and featured her work in articles on art metal and jewelry design. Following the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1922 exhibition of contemporary art, the institution purchased an oval box she made of silver and jade decorated with gold, rubies, and crystal. Two years later the Art Institute of Chicago awarded Zimmermann the Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Prize for silver and metalwork. By 1944 she had disbanded her studio and workshops and lived at her Manhattan townhouse, her farm near Milford, Pennsylvania, or in Florida.
In addition to the jewelry and personal accessories, bowls, boxes, and sculpture that were exhibited, Zimmerman designed lighting from candlesticks to wall sconces, vessels and vases, tableware, furniture and fireplace accessories, ornamental fountains, garden gates, cemetery shrines and memorials, and other utilitarian objects in a variety of metals, including iron, copper, bronze, silver, and gold. Work from her studio is usually stamped “M. Zimmermann Maker,” with or without a superimposed “M” and “Z” in a circle logo.
Anyone who has information on the artist or who knows the location of her decorative arts is asked to contact Deborah Dependahl Waters, firstname.lastname@example.org, the author of the monograph, or Joseph Cunningham of the American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation at 212-501-9672.