Jeweller Icons 01: Art Smith

Portrait of Art Smith

I discovered the work of Art Smith when I was first developing an interest in jewellery. He is one of the most significant American jewellers of the Modernist period and his work was influenced by various movements of his time like Surrealism, Primitivism and Biomorphism as well as the work of sculptor Alexander Calder.

Born in Cuba to Jamaican parents, he grew up in New York and studied under Winifred Mason, a key African American jeweller. He opened his own jewellery store in the West Village but moved to Greenwich Village after suffering racial violence from his neighbours when his windows were smashed. He worked from this store from 1946-1979, shortly before his death. As a gay Afro-Caribbean man, he was a true trailblazer and his work is imbued with a strong creative energy.

Friends with key dancers, choreographers and musicians of the time, he created a vibrant network of creative people in his life, all who inspired his work. If you ever get the chance, you can view his work in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, Museum of Art and Design, and Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Art Smith bracelet

Art Smith silver earrings

Art Smith metalic boa necklace

Art Smith cuff

Portrait of Art Smith circa 1951

Portrait of Art Smith

I discovered the work of Art Smith when I was first developing an interest in jewellery. He is one of the most significant American jewellers of the Modernist period and his work was influenced by various movements of his time like Surrealism, Primitivism and Biomorphism as well as the work of sculptor Alexander Calder.

Born in Cuba to Jamaican parents, he grew up in New York and studied under Winifred Mason, a key African American jeweller. He opened his own jewellery store in the West Village but moved to Greenwich Village after suffering racial violence from his neighbours when his windows were smashed. He worked from this store from 1946-1979, shortly before his death. As a gay Afro-Caribbean man, he was a true trailblazer and his work is imbued with a strong creative energy.

Friends with key dancers, choreographers and musicians of the time, he created a vibrant network of creative people in his life, all who inspired his work. If you ever get the chance, you can view his work in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, Museum of Art and Design, and Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Art Smith bracelet

Art Smith silver earrings

Art Smith metalic boa necklace

Art Smith cuff

Portrait of Art Smith circa 1951