Man and His Pet Bee

Robert W. Ebendorf (American, born in 1938)

Object Place: Athens, Georgia


Overall: 17.1 x 11.1 x 1.3 cm, 68.1 gm (6 3/4 x 4 3/8 x 1/2 in., 0.2 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Copper, silver, tintype photo, glass beads, brass, aluminum, other found objects

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art, Jewelry



Disk set with fragment of a tintype portrait of a man’s face; disk is framed with numbered dial and set with brass, copper, and small red stones. The disk is joined to a larger section of the tintype showing the seated man from chest to knees, with a toy bee placed between his legs.

Although trained in traditional silversmithing, Robert Ebendorf, like other craft artists in the 1960s, sought to break away from the Modernist tenets of functionality and “good design” in search of greater personal expression. Drawing inspiration from Cubism and the Dada movement, Ebendorf explored collage, assemblage, and the use of “found” or ready-made objects, often making jewelry from worthless materials he juxtaposed for their narrative and emotional associations. Transforming bits of detritus-rusty tin cans, recycled beads, and old photographs-into jewelry loaded with social commentary, Ebendorf sought to redefine the boundaries and purpose of body adornment.


Engraved " R EBENDORF 1968" on rear of lower section


Robert Ebendorf; Daphne Farago, August 2, 1992 Daphne Farago; to MFA, 2006, gift of Daphne Farago.

Credit Line

The Daphne Farago Collection


Reproduced with permission.