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Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection

Ramljak, Suzanne
135 pages
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The collection of post-World War II jewelry assembled by Donna Schneier chronicles the history of modern and contemporary jewelry worldwide. Her gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art of 132 necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, and rings created by 88 makers embodies an era in which artists and craftspeople experimented with new materials, techniques and concepts.

The artists represented in the Donna Schneier Collection conceived their works within larger artistic movements, signaling a period in which concepts and ideas were valued more than precious materials. They were inspired by important turn-of-the-twentieth-century jewelers such as René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, but also looked to artists like Alexander Calder—who began making jewelry in the 1930s—and midcentury modernists like Art Smith and Sam Kramer. Abstraction, Conceptual art, and Minimalism were all powerful influences, along with earlier modernist movements such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl. Performance art, Pop art, and a keen interest in narrative and figurative work also came into play.

Brooch, Hermann Jünger  German, 18K gold, diamonds, and silver
Hermann Jünger
"Gold Makes you Blind" Bracelet, Otto Künzli  Swiss, Synthetic rubber and 18K gold
Otto Künzli
"Anello da Mignolo" (Ring for Little Finger), Giampaolo Babetto  Italian, 18K gold and synthetic resin
Giampaolo Babetto
Diamond Brooch, Gijs Bakker  Dutch, PVC laminated photograph and diamond
Gijs Bakker
Brooch, Hermann Jünger  German, 18K gold, emeralds, chrysoprase, sapphires, opals, lapis lazuli, and enamel
Hermann Jünger
ca. 1970–72
"Hey True Blue" Brooch, Robert Baines  Australian, Silver, powder coating, gold, and paint
Robert Baines
"Blue Petrossa #4" Brooch, Jamie Bennett  American, 18K gold, 20K gold, enamel, and copper
Jamie Bennett
"Monte Fiascone" Brooch, Manfred Bischoff  German, Gold-plated silver, coral
Manfred Bischoff
"Sylvester (Momentum Juniori) Childhood Memories" Necklace, Alexander Blank  German, Resin, silver, cotton cord
Alexander Blank
"Boxes and Components" Necklace, Helen Britton  Australian, Gold plated silver, plastic polymer, and found objects
Helen Britton
"Bloodgarnetheart" Brooch, Lola Brooks  American, Gold, silver, garnet
Lola Brooks
Necklace, Attai Chen  Israeli, Paper, paint, coal, glue, and linen
Attai Chen
"Gorilla" Brooch, Eunmi Chun  Korean, Hair, animal tissue, silver, seeds, and gold leaf
Eunmi Chun
Brooch, Anton Cepka  Slovakian, Silver and acrylic
Anton Cepka
ca. 1990
Bracelet, Peter Chang  British, Polyester and epoxy resin
Peter Chang
Pendant, Václav Cigler  Czech, Glass and leather
Václav Cigler
ca. 1960
Brooch, Georg Dobler  German, Steel wire, black chrome
Georg Dobler
Perspex Hands Chatelaine, Iris Eichenberg  German, Perspex, silver, zinc, and leather
Iris Eichenberg
"Mobius" Brooch, Eva Eisler  Czech, Stainless steel
Eva Eisler
ca. 2002
Ring, Karl Fritsch  German, Oxidized silver, rough diamonds
Karl Fritsch
Showing 20 of 48

View Citations

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), and Suzanne Ramljak, eds. 2014. Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.