Joan Sonnabend Provenance Note – Skinner 9-13-2012

23kt gold pendant, Pablo Picasso, "Visage geometrique aux traits", circa 1998, designed as an abstract face, no. 1426, and no. 6 in an edition of 20

p4A ItemID E8927501
18kt gold bead necklace, Robert Lee Morris, composed of multiple strands of dimpled beads, signed, with pouch

p4A ItemID E8927481
18kt gold knuckle ring, Robert Lee Morris, signed

p4A ItemID E8927479
18kt gold and smoky quartz necklace, Rebecca Koven, composed of four strands of shaped quartz tablets with floret spacers, signed

p4A ItemID E8927478

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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