Gold Gilt Bronze Vase by Marie Zimmermann Model #76
Antique hand hammered bronze vase by Marie Zimmermann. Fine gold gilding. Impressed "MARIE ZIMMERMAN MAKER/76". Circa 1920. Zimmermann, an heiress to a straw-importing fortune, did not need to work for a living. She nonetheless ran a metalsmithing studio in New York from the 1910s to the late ’30s, partly to prove herself to the men who doubted women could succeed in that gritty profession.
She hired men to handle some of the finishing work on her vessels, daggers, jewelry, andirons, stained-glass windows, light fixtures and garden gates. But she did not let the subcontractors express much opinion. “I am the brains and they are the hands,” she told a journalist in the 1930s.
Marie Zimmermann trained at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute and then lived and worked in rooms at the National Arts Club in Manhattan. She and a few employees outsourced the more complicated and dangerous tasks, like bronze casting and aluminum spinning. Zimmermann browsed antiques shops herself, looking for Chinese jade carvings and Mexican silver filigree for whimsical finials and pendants on her pieces.
She studied antiques as design sources, too, borrowing forms and motifs from Egyptian scarabs, Roman cameos, Mughal jewelry and Tang dynasty lobed bowls. She also took on custom commissions, ranging from rings to mausoleums, particularly for other independent women like the suffragist Annie R. Tinker and the meatpacking heiress Lolita Armour.
In 1939, Zimmermann shut down the studio, after disappointedly selling nothing at an exhibition she organized in Santa Barbara, California. “I had no business success at all, so feel very discouraged about making any more art objects,” she wrote to a colleague. New York Times 2011.
DIAMETER: 5.88 in | HEIGHT: 5.63 in
Shipping Estimate: $50 | FedEx
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CONDITION: Minor wear to gilding on exterior. Loss to gilding on bottom of interior.