Gallery 20 Jewelry

We specialize in 19th / 20th Century jewelry.  We select artists geographically from

  • South America to Taxco, Mexico (aka the Maestros of Silver) including also
  • California,
  • New Mexico, (American Indian)
  • New England, including New York
  • Canada,
  • Finland,
  • Denmark,
  • Germany,
  • England and
  • China

This collection contains notable pieces of exquisite jewelry designed during the "golden age" of Mexican silversmithing; designers/silversmiths like William Spratling, Fred Davis, Los Castillo, Hector Aguilar, Margot de Taxco, Matilde Poulat

and in general most of the "big names" helped start and/or contributed to the revival of the art of working with silver by re-introducing pre-Colombian motifs and techniques that had been lost during the country's colonial period.

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Masha Archer is also included in this collection, as her jewelry carries a large fan base of famous people such as Clint Eastwood, Oprah, former First Ladies, "Carrie Bradshaw" of Sex In the City, and more.

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Oswaldo-Guayasmin, born in Quito, Ecuador, had a lively life as a painter, sculptor, collector, and is the artist of an unusually beautiful necklace and earrings featured in this collection, the Hammered Silver Plate Choker with Turquoise Accents.

As pieces are added, more information will be added about this collection as well.

 

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The Golden Age of Mexican Silversmithing ...

More information about William Spratling:

Spratling, who was on the faculty of the School of Architecture at Tulane, became enthralled with Mexican culture and, in 1926, began teaching an annual summer course on Mexican colonial architecture at the national university in Mexico City. He received a book contract and, in 1929, resigned from his faculty position at Tulane to buy a house in Taxco and write Little Mexico. Spratling decided to stay and, in order to make a living, he organized a small silver workshop and went into production in 1931. While he is considered one of the foremost silver designers in the world, Spratling was lionized in his own time for the creation of a model industry. Warner Brothers did a documentary about him in 1946 and, in 1949, Spratling was asked by the U.S. government to replicate his workshop in Alaska. A pragmatic visionary, Spratling’s success derived from an emphasis on process rather than product in a handwrought industry, a workshop hierarchy based on ability, the use of local materials combined with silver, and the inspiration of pre-Columbian art.  Spratling’s approach to production provided employment and training for hundreds of artisans and became a prototype for countless small industries in Mexico.

Fred Davis:

Fred Davis would have been one of the first people Spratling encountered in Mexico City. In the 1920s, Davis’s gallery in the Palacio de Iturbide Hotel had become a lively center for the exchange of art and ideas, drawing both Mexican and international artists and intellectuals. Spratling’s architectural drawings were exhibited at the gallery. Rene d’Harnoncourt, who arrived from Austria in 1926, worked with Davis in the development of the gallery. In 1934, he emigrated to the United States, later serving as director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1949–1967). Davis, d’Harnoncourt, and Spratling collaborated on designing and furnishing Ambassador and Mrs. Dwight Morrow’s home, Casa Mañana, in Cuernavaca, the couple’s retreat while Morrow was American ambassador to Mexico (1927–1930). In the late 1920s, Davis was producing a line of jewelry based on pre-Columbian sculpture and contemporary folk art. This jewelry provided inspiration for Spratling’s first designs in silver and, in those early years, Spratling sold his work in Davis’s gallery.