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The Opening of Macchiarini Creative Design & Metalworks Gallery

by Marbeth Schon


Though he continues the explorations of form and design begun by his father, Peter Macchiarini, in the 1930s, Daniel Macchiarini is on his own journey; he is transforming the ideas of the past, taking them to new, previously unknown levels.

Part I
On Sunday, October 23rd, 2005, Daniel Macchiarini officially launched his new space, Macchiarini Creative Design & Metalworks Gallery at 1453 Grant Avenue in San Francisco's legendary North Beach district, with a splendid party and opening of an exhibit of jewelry and sculpture titled, "The Wearable Art Movement Then and Now."
Throughout the 1930s to 1950s North Beach was the West Coast center of the Modernist Art Movement, including literature, painting, sculpture, and jewelry. A long-time Italian District, it became a haven for the Beat Generation with its coffee houses, jazz joints, theaters, and small clubs; every night poetry sang through the air and art was always the main topic of discussion in the parks and on the street corners.

Sunday turned the clock back 50 years as Daniel Macchiarini's opening was attended by authors and artists, designers and collectors, studio owners and shop owners, politicians and the curious.1

Along with one-of-a kind jewelry and sculpture by Daniel Macchiarini and other brilliant neo-modernist designers, this exhibit includes an unprecedented, museum-quality show of mid 20th century jewelry by metal artists featured in my recent book for Schiffer publishing, "Modernist Jewelry, 1930-1960, The Wearable Art  Movement," and a comprehensive Peter Macchiarini timeline  incorporating jewelry and sculpture, photographs and texts that chronicle his life and work from the 1930s until his death in 2001.

Window display at Macchiarini Creative Design and Metalworks Gallery exhibiting early jewelry and sculpture by Peter Macchiarini; jewelry by Daniel Macchiarini; various handmade wedding rings by Macchiarini; my book," Modernist Jewelry, 1930-1960, The Wearable Art Movement;" and  "Runway Necklace" by contemporary artist Christine Dhein
Macchiarini Creative Design and Metalworks Gallery will maintain the traditions begun by Peter Macchiarini at the studio he opened not far away in the 1930s, but the new gallery also represents a significant break from the past.  Daniel Macchiarini explains:

Daniel Macchiarini's work bench.
Painting by his daughter, Emma Macchiarini Mankin is upper right

There are three main differences and improvements in moving to the new studio/gallery at 1453 Grant Ave. 

First is that it provides adequate space for both production work and display.  This is a major improvement over the old studio/gallery; now all the work can be seen properly in the new gallery and the production area is separate and accessible to clients as well as affording space for workshops, classes, and other neo-modernist artists to work.
 Second, the space allows for greater and better interaction with clients--this is important and different from what my father did. 
He was a pioneer modernist designer and viewed the interaction with the public as a separate function from the production/creation of his work.

As a "neo-modernist,"  I view my interaction with clients and the public in general as part of what makes my work vital.  This does not mean that I surrender my role as "the artist" who makes all the final design decisions in my work but that my art becomes better because I recognize what my clients  desires are and that I combine these desires with mine to emotionally effect my work. 

Third, there is enough space to have real gallery shows and consign work from other neo-modernist metal working designers so the public can use the gallery to view a wider spectrum of work.2

Jewelers from my book whose work is included in the exhibit are Lilyan Bachrach, Mildred Ball, Franz Bergmann, Harry Bertoia, Francis Holmes Boothby, Jules Brenner, Bonnie and Irvin Burkee, Irena Brynner, Virgil Cantini, Milton Cavagnaro, Maxwell Chayatt, Jose De Rivera, Robert Dhaemers, Virginia Dudley, Margaret De Patta, Felice, Elsa Freund, Claire Falkenstein, Lois Franke Warren, Richard Gompf, Phyllis Jacobs, Arthur King, Sam Kramer, Earl Krentzin, Ibram Lassaw, Esther Lewittes, Peter Macchiarini, Daniel Macchiarini, Frank Miraglia, P. Nass, Ed Levin, Paul Lobel, Everett Macdonald, John Paul Miller, Earl Pardon, James Parker, Ronald Hayes Pearson, Miriam Smith Peck, Frank Rebajes, Florence Resnikoff, merry renk, Walter Rhodes, Ruth Roach, Roach2, Carolyn Gleick Rosene, Herman Roth, Sara, Christian Schmidt, Mary Schimpff Webb,  Pearl Schecter, Art Smith, Henry Steig, Bill Tendler, Ed Wiener, Byron Wilson, and Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry.

Contemporary jewelers include Adam Clark, Christine Dhein, Anni Ayers Forcum, Cher Fox, Marirose Jelicich, Daniel Macchiarini, and Shahasp Valentine.

Mid 20th century jewelry from "Modernist Jewelry, 1930-1960, The Wearable Art Movement." The arrangement parallels the sections of the book.
Richard Gompf's gold on silver flatware, ca. 1960 can be seen in the center.

left to right:  Lois Franke Warren (jeweler and author of the book, "Handwrought Jewelry," ca. 1962),  David Warren (Humanities professor, lecturer, tour guide), Sheila Pamfiloff (owner of, and Daniel Macchiarini.

Peter Macchiarini's grandson, Mark Chapin in front of Peter Macchiarini timeline.

Peter Macchiarini's bronze sculpture, "Norton, Emperor the First of the United States and Protector of Mexico," ca.  1933, can be seen on the left.

At the top of the display is Peter    Macchiarni's "Ebony Abstract Wall Piece," ca. 1998.



A photo of Peter Macchiarini looks down approvingly at the celebration.
Various Macchiarini sculptures line the tops of the cases and walls.  In the center is "Conception, Inside the Egg," wall piece by Daniel Macchiarini in copper, mild steel, and bronze inlaid with  iridescent "Hot Plastic." On the right is "Ankman Mask" in bronze, copper, and brass by Daniel Macchiarini, ca.2004.

An extraordinary display of jewelry, both mid 20th century and contemporary, by various renowned American metalsmiths.

top row, left to right:
Howard Schleeter, Ibram Lassaw, Vera Allison, Robert Dhaemers, and Christian Schmidt.

middle: Mary Schimpff, merry renk, Lois Franke Warren.

bottom: Florence Resnikoff.

Glenn Pamfiloff of and Marbeth Schon.

I was invited to speak about the jewelry and sign copies of my recent book  "Modernist Jewelry, 1930-1960, The Wearable Art Movement."

(photograph courtesy of Lois Franke Warren and David Warren.)

A duly proud Daniel Macchiarini!


Part II: Continuing the Exploration of Form
(please click here)


Glenn Pamfiloff,, "The Glitterbox presents Macchiarini Grand      Opening," November, 2005.
2Daniel Macchiarini, email, November 2005
Exhibition contributors are:
Lilyan Bachrach
Adam Clark (President of the Metal Arts Guild)
Christine Dhein
Fred Doloresco
Annie Ayers Forcum
Cher Fox
Joan Gruzen
Richard Gompf
Marirose Jellicich
Daniel Macchiarini
merry renk
Florence Resnikoff
Mary Schimpff
Marbeth Schon
Shahasp Valentine
Lois Franke Warren

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Article by Marbeth Schon
Photos by Marbeth Schon and courtesy of Lois Franke Warren and David Warren

Web design by Marbeth Schon

 Copyright   Modern Silver magazine 2005
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