Marie Zimmermann created jewelry, silver, metalwork, and other objects in varying patinas and forms. Though her name is unknown to the average person, I consider her to be one of the great jewelry artists of the 20th century. She collected beautiful objects, including jade carvings and stones, and incorporated them into the jewelry and art pieces that she made in her Gramercy park studio.
This pair of Asian-inspired Art Deco bangle bracelets perfectly captures her unique style. Zimmermann re-interpreted the Chinese dragon motif with clear and simple vision, using half jade and half polychrome enamels. The result is a calming yet powerful piece that reminds me of Cartier’s Indo-Asian chimera bangle bracelets.
Last exhibited in 1939 in a Santa Barbara art gallery, these bracelets descended in Zimmermann’s family and remained with the original box from her studio. On December 10, 2013, these bangles will be offered at our Fine Jewelry auction in Boston along with three rings from Zimmermann’s family’s collection.
Each ring shows a different facet of her style: an amethyst intaglio has a classical motif; a carnelian intaglio with enameled palmetto shoulders is a nod to the Egyptial revival period; and a pearl gem set within an asymmetrical basket weave band is the most original of the three. This pearl ring was pictured in International Studio Magazine in 1922.
If you’re interested in learning more, a recently published book, The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann, provides a history of the artist’s life and work and includes images of the items pictured here and many others.
I hope this auction increases collectors’ awareness of a truly wonderful and eclectic jewelry artist. Stop by our auction preview on December 8th and 9th to try on her jewelry for yourself.