Joan Sonnabend Provenance Note – Skinner 9-13-2012

23kt gold pendant, Max Ernst, Groin, of abstract form, no. 1289, 1737, and no. 4 in an edition of 6, maker's mark for Francois Hugo and signed on the reverse, in a velvet-lined wood box

p4A ItemID E8927495
22kt and 18kt gold longchain, Noma Copley, bi-color gold braided links, clasp with a cabochon yellow gemstone framed by ropetwists, ropetwist terminals

p4A ItemID E8927488
Pair of 18kt gold Anelli rings, GianCarlo Montebello, circa 1981, each designed as an "X"

p4A ItemID E8927477
18kt bi-color gold and blue topaz pyramid ear clips, Bulgari, each set with a topaz pyramid, signed

p4A ItemID E8927476

Joan Sonnabend – Art Jewelry Dealer

Joan Sonnabend opened her tiny gallery at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1973. She started with a 100-piece collection of “sculptures to wear”. Included in the pins, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, were works by such artists as Man Ray, Pol Bury, Picasso, Arp, and Calder. She was never a jeweler, but an art dealer. From the time she graduated Sarah Lawrence with an art degree, she always knew she wanted to open a gallery. After opening Sculpture to Wear, many artists sought her out to create items for the gallery. She became friendly with many of them, and maintained these relationships for many years.

In 1973, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, mounted a show called “Jewelry As Sculpture as Jewelry.” The intent of the show was to elevate body ornament to the level of art. It showcased artists and jewelers who were especially interested in using various and unconventional materials. Joan Sonnabend’s gallery at the Plaza was in part responsible for the exhibition and the creation of a market for artists’ jewelry. For me personally, Joan opened my eyes to the interplay between jewelry, sculpture, adornment, and art. She always believed in the power of art and remained an art dealer until her passing.
Gloria Lieberman

Information courtesy of Skinner, Inc., September 2012.


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