Margaret De Patta

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Margaret De Patta
1903 – 1964
De Patta attended the Academy of Fine Arts in San Diego, Cali­fornia, the Cali­fornia School of Fine Arts in San Fran­cisco, and the Art Students League in New York. She studied metal­smithing with Armenian-born artisan Armin Hairenian and by 1935 had her own studio and was selling jewelry through a craft gallery in San Fran­cisco. She attended Moholy-Nagy’s Insti­tute of Design in Chicago ( 1940 – 41) and there met and married Eugene Bielawski. They returned to San Fran­cisco where they began a limited produc­tion oper­a­tion of her jewelry which was sold in many national outlets; In 1951 she and Bielawski moved to Napa, Cali­fornia and attempted to open a school based on the Bauhaus philos­ophy. This never mate­ri­al­ized and in 1956 De Patta stopped manu­fac­turing and returned to making one-of-a-kind pieces. She was one of the most recog­nized modern jewelers winning numerous local and national awards. She also helped to found the San Fran­cisco Metal Arts Guild.


Space-Light-Struc­ture: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta
26 February 4, 2012 — May 13, 2012

Presented in conjunc­tion with the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Oakland Museum of Cali­fornia presents a retro­spec­tive exhi­bi­tion on the work of pioneer jeweler Margaret De Patta. A seminal figure in the Amer­ican Modernist Jewelry move­ment, De Patta was born in 1903 and moved to the Bay Area in 1923. Distin­guished as one of the few Amer­ican jewelers whose work and ideas were allied to the evolving ideas presented in the modern art move­ment, De Patta’s work was heavily influ­enced by the Construc­tivists and features archi­tec­tural forms with simple lines, struc­ture, and often movable parts. Space-Light-Struc­ture: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta features more than 60 jewelry pieces as well as ceramics, flat­ware, photographs, pictograms, and newly released archival mate­rial. OMCA holds the largest collec­tion of De Patta’s work, most of which was donated by her husband, Eugene Bielawski, after the artist’s untimely death in 1964.

Co-Orga­nized by the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and Oakland Museum of California.Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta is made possible in part by support from the Terra Foun­da­tion for Amer­ican Art, the Rotasa Foun­da­tion, the National Endow­ment for the Arts, and the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design at Univer­sity of North Carolina, Asheville. The OMCA presen­ta­tion is made possible by addi­tional support from the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and the OMCA Art Guild.


Museum of arts and design
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Space, Light, Struc­ture
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 to Sunday, September 23, 2012

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