With over 200 pieces of work from the 1930s-70s, "Silver Seduction: The Art of Mexican Modernist Antonio Pineda" at UCLA's Fowler Museum is a stunning retrospective and the first for the famed silversmith. It's also first time Pineda, who is 89 and one of the only two living members of the renowned modernist Taxco School, has shown in the U.S. for that matter. For a man who's been making jewelry for 78 years, we say it's high time.
After apprenticing with the American modernist silversmith William Spratling (the man credited with spearheading the modernist Taxco movement) for nine years, in 1939, when he was just 20 years old, Pineda opened his own shop.
His big break came in 1944 when the head of Gump's Department (the premiere San Francisco store for silver and art objects) saw his work and asked him to show there.
Like other Taxco modernists, Pineda's work draws on a variety of sources including pre-Columbian art, religious images and artwork from the Mexican Colonial period. He's known for his ample use of free-floating gemstones, including amethysts, onyx and pearls, as well as for his remarkable skill in crafting each piece.
The true testament to Pineda's ability as a jeweler is his understanding of the human form with each piece of jewelry designed to enhance the body, rather than weigh it down. A necklace that may seem thick or boxy, for example, is in fact perfectly crafted to encircle the neck in a comfortable design.
Silver Seduction is a rare chance to visit such an vast body of work from one of the few masters of metal. The companion catalogue is available from Amazon.