Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Elizabeth Fowler
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Interactive Arts
The author traces the development of modern and artistic themes in metalwork of the Western world throughout the twentieth century. The argument is that metalsmithing from 1900 to 2000 reacted to the rapid mechanization and the technological developments of the period. The results are uniquely modern, and differ immensely from the work done before the Industrial Revolution. The twentieth century was thus a period in which the styles changed dramatically but also had common themes. Through careful examination, the author points out these commonalities, and concludes that technology has pushed the field of contemporary handmade metalsmithing out of the crafts and into the realm of the fine arts.
The thesis is an introduction to twentieth-century metalsmithing, with particular emphasis on the Bauhaus metal workshop and the 1930s through the 1950s. Some information on the Art and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau is included, mainly to create a historical context for the areas of focus that follow. Information on styles and movements in jewelry from the 1960s onwards is limited, because the author believes Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and the New Jewelry movement are better covered in other articles and books than the mid-twentieth century is.
Primary sources are used wherever possible, and many references to original artworks are made.
Koelewyn, Ruth, "A History of Twentieth-Century Handmade Metalsmithing in Europe and America" (2006). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 616.
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