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Large Gilded Inkwell with Stone Finial, Marie Zimmermann (American, 1879-1972), ca. 1930s

Large Gilded Inkwell with Stone Finial, Marie Zimmermann (American, 1879-1972), ca. 1930s

Item Description:

A large, sophisticated and sculptural inkwell from the Hollywood Regency era in gilded copper with a contrasting coral and white stone/marble finial by American metalsmith, designer and jeweler, Marie Zimmermann (1879-1972). Zimmermann created this impressive design before 1939 and the inkwell comes directly from her estate. The same gold-plated inkwell form with a finial of jade, onyx and coral is illustrated on page 154, fig. 4.31 of The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann, 2011.

Zimmermann spent much of her creative energy developing unique artistic finishes for her designs in metalwork, experimenting with combinations of heat, wax, varnish, pigments and various plating techniques. As in the case of this inkwell, Zimmermann occasionally accented her finishes with enameled details, jewels and gemstones, and/or "found objects," favoring carved pieces of coral, ivory, jade and stone.

The inkwell is sculptural but also functional, with remnants of ink staining the removable insert. The body and lid are gilded inside and out with a rich, golden satin finish. The base is marked with Zimmermann's MZ artist's cipher impressed over M.ZIMMERMANN / MAKER.


Appears in fine, unpolished condition with expected scuffs on base, a few dark oxidation spots and some minor wear to gilding with a couple of tiny pinpoint dings around the body. Please contact for specific condition questions.


The Estate of Marie Zimmermann


Height 5 in.
Diameter 8.25 in.

About The Artist:

Marie Zimmermann (1879-1972) was an American metalsmith, jeweler, and designer working in New York City during the opening decades of the 20th century. She was by turns an outdoors woman, employer, world traveler, daughter, sister, and artist; period journalists called her "…master of a dozen crafts...perhaps the most versatile artist in this country" and "the last of the great metal craftsmen...the modern Benvenuto Cellini."

Zimmermann's creative and innovative designs for jewelry, funerary monuments, and ornamental accessories for home and garden were eclectic, often experimental, and informed by her life-long interests in historical design and the natural world.

Zimmermann studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students' League in New York before taking a suite of rooms at the National Arts Club where she maintained a workshop studio and showroom. Her designs were exhibited widely throughout her career and today, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City holds the largest collection of her objects, acquiring their first example in 1922. Examples of her creations in jewelry and metalwork are also in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, and the Columbus Museum of Art.

For additional information, see The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann, American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation and Yale University Press, 2011.


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Large Gilded Inkwell with Stone Finial, Marie Zimmermann (American, 1879-1972), ca. 1930s

Listed price: $7,000.00

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