This modernist brooch was made by the man who is said to have been an innovator of midcentury modern design--Paul Lobel (1899-1983). From a website about the maker: "The accomplishments of Paul A. Lobel, industrial designer, metalsmith, sculptor and cartoonist/illustrator, may be viewed as the quintessential American success story. Born in Romania, at the turn of the century, he emigrated to the United States while an infant, and, from humble beginnings on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, grew up to attain a one-man show in Paris in 1925, win two awards at the International Exposition of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1932, be the subject of two exhibitions at the American Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He also founded an innovative jewelry and metals studio/shop in New York’s Greenwich Village. Furthermore, his contemporaries regarded him with awe and almost everything he attempted came to fruition." Lobel worked in so many fields, a career and life so full that for the sake of space I'll jump right to the 1940s, when wartime shortages forced the then sculptor to move from large-scale sculptures to focus on jewelry. In 1943, Lobel turned to sterling silver. He opened a jewelry studio/shop at 165 West 4th Street in Greenwich Village “where town and country merge, for here [one] really meets America.” Lobel had “decided there was too much trash in costume jewelry and that since women are receptive to simple forms executed of good material, it behooved him to experiment with decorative designs of commonly seen objects – musical instruments ranging from grand pianos to weeping mandolins; animals of all kinds, from stylized horses and fox heads to a semihumorous skunk regarding with amazement his sweeping tail; leaf and flower forms and such conceits as a bracelet bearing a child skipping rope or a kitten with a waving tail.” Just as he had been so successful as a sculptor and illustrator, Lobel's jewelry was a hit, exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art in 1946, The Walker Art Center in 1948, and the American Museum of Natural History in 1951. Today Lobel's pieces, especially his brooch pins, can sell for over $1,000 each!
This design of the Stradivarius violin was said to be done in 1945. It is stunning, with striking lines no matter the angle. The patina is fairly dark, some tarnish, and either it could benefit from a very light polish or, probably what I would do if I were to keep it is to wear it often. Pin it onto a favorite hat or jacket. And just allow exposure to air and skin, as I'm sure you'll touch it from time to time, lighten up the patina.
Measures just under 3" long by 7/8" wide. The pin on the back is bent from age and wear, but otherwise the brooch is in good condition.
Perfect gift for the music lover, or the musician, or the collector of modernist forms.
Please convo with questions, or call (505) 369-6865. Will return your call as soon as possible.
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Sep 6, 2022
Well packaged. Arrived before Holiday, so not in PO over long weekend to get lost. Very happy to find this mid-century modernist piece by a favorite designer. Photos and condition are very good (bent pen not a problem). Per M. Schon's Modernist Jewelry 1930-1960, made 1945 (book has opposite of piece). Thank you for having it as it is not your typical offering.