Modern Cuff

Designer Art Smith American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

From the 1940s to the 1970s, Art Smith was a leading member of the studio jewelry movement in New York City, which included Ed Wiener and Sam Kramer, both of whom are represented in The Met’s collections. Smith studied two and three dimensional art at Cooper Union. During his last two years at the school, he held a part time job at the Children’s Aid Society in Harlem, where he was introduced to jewelry making as an art form. Smith was an openly gay, Black artist whose designs were influenced by Surrealism, Primitivism, and the work of Alexander Calder, as well as by jazz, traditional tribal jewelry, and African sculpture.
Like many of Smith’s biomorphic and sculptural designs, this cuff creates an interplay between the jewelry and the wearer; the negative spaces make the wearer’s skin part of the design. Smith’s use of semi-precious metals and simple techniques gives each of his pieces a hand-crafted quality. The brass rods here reflect Smith’s interest in jazz, as the flattened ends recall the brass keys of a saxophone or trumpet.

Modern Cuff, Art Smith (American, born Cuba 1917–1982 New York), Copper and brass

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.