Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, studio jewelry artists—working independently of the commercial jewelry industry—made innovative jewelry that explored contemporary art movements, social issues, and conceptual themes. Using both precious and nontraditional materials, they created one-of-a-kind or limited-edition wearable works of art.
“Jewelry by Artists: The Daphne Farago Collection” presents selected highlights from Daphne Farago’s outstanding collection of this contemporary craft jewelry, a recent gift to the MFA. With this gift, the MFA now has the most comprehensive collection of twentieth-century studio jewelry ever assembled. The exceptional collection includes works of jewelry by leading American and European artists—including Alexander Calder, Robert Ebendorf, Mary Lee Hu, Sam Kramer, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Wendy Ramshaw, Art Smith, and others—in a wide variety of media and sculptural forms.
With a selection of about 150 objects, the exhibition provides a chronological and thematic survey of studio jewelry in the twentieth century. While demonstrating the breadth of the collection and the variety of artists’ approaches to jewelry-making, the show also offers in-depth exploration of works by key artists.