Reported in the New York Times, a new book “The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmerman” by Manhattan furniture collectors, Bruce Barnes and Joseph Cunningham, is due for publication in the next few weeks. A formidable figure, Marie Zimmerman was an heiress who certainly didn’t need to work for a living but began a metalsmithing practice partially to prove women could compete in the male-dominated business. Zimmerman worked out of rooms at the National Arts Club, outsourcing only some of the more dangerous work to a few employees and contractors–all the while making it clear who the boss was. As she told a journalist in the 1930s, “I am the brains and they are the hands.”
Zimmerman browsed antiques shops for whimsical, exotic carvings and pendants for her pieces. She also studied antiques as design sources borrowing forms and motifs from ancient artifacts for objects such as the Egyptian-inspired box pictured above. She also took on custom commissions especially for other pioneering women like the suffragist Annie R. Tinker and the meatpacking heiress Lolita Armour. It’s only in the last few years that museums have begun to take notice of Zimmerman and interest in her work is expected to grow even further with the release of this industry-anticipated study.