1950s dangling kinetic leaf earrings created by Art Smith of New York City, New York. Earrings measure 3" in length and are of the screw back variety. Signed art Smith on the back of one earring, Art Smith. In very good vintage 1950s condition.
Born in Cuba in 1917, the Smith family moved to Brooklyn, NY shortly afterward and settled in Brooklyn, NY. Arthur showed his artistic talent from a young age, and participated in various art contests. He received a scholarship to Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. After graduating in 1940, he attended jewelry making classes at New York University. Knowledge of the jewelry business and the friendship with Winifred Mason, identified the future of Smith.
He opened his first shop in Greenwich Village in 1946, later at 140 West Fourth Street, New York, which was the start of his career. Smith opened stores around the U.S., Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and by the mid 1950â€™s he was able to establish business relationships with famous companies namely, Bloomingdaleâ€™s, Milton Heffing in Manhattan, James Boutique in Houston, Lâ€™Unique in Minneapolis, and Black Tulip in Dallas. Also, he received coverage in Vogue, Harperâ€™s Bazzar and mentioned in The New Yorker.
In 1969 he had a one-man exhibition at New Yorkâ€™s Museum of Contemporary Crafts (now the Museum of Art and Design). Besides, in 1970 he participated in Objects: USA, a large traveling exhibition. Organized by Lee Nordness, an influential early dealer in craft objects. After his death, three major exhibits celebrated his work. Among them â€œArthur Smith, A Jewelerâ€™s Retrospectiveâ€ at the Jamacia Arts Center in Queens NY in 1990. Also, â€œSculpture to Wear, Art Smith and his Contemporariesâ€ at the Gansevoort Gallery, NYC, 1998. Also, â€œFrom the Village to Vogueâ€ at the Brooklyn Museum in 2008.
Smith had had a heart attack in the 1960s, and by the late 1970s his health had declined. The shop on West Fourth was closed in 1979. Smith died in 1982.