merry renk (American, 1921–2012)
Object Place: San Francisco, California
Diameter: 43.2 cm (17 in.); overall (each element): 5.1 x 5.1 x 1.3 cm (2 x 2 x 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
The 1940s and 1950s (Gallery 336)
Comprised of 16 “Atom” shaped sterling links separated by small circular links decorated with red enamel .
Renk says she wasn’t consciously thinking of the atomic symbol when she designed the six-lobed shapes that dot this necklace in 1954. But that was one year after the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, and nuclear fear and fascination were in the air. Renk’s customers immediately called the design “atoms,” so she followed suit. Actually, the necklace is inspired by chains worn by sixteenth-century English King Henry VIII in his formal portraits. Renk never claimed the necklace was a political statement, but the design does cleverly associate atomic energy with symbols of power.
Mobilia Gallery; Daphne Farago, December 15, 1994 Daphne Farago; to MFA, 2006, gift of Daphne Farago.
The Daphne Farago Collection