Sam Kramer directed an atelier where he acted as a mentor to emerging artisans, such as Peggy Ackerly and Charles Wendell to fashion jewelry in his distinctive style. Ackerly started her career as a painter, studying with both Jacob Lawrence and Jack Levine, and went on to become Kramer’s apprentice in 1945. Ackerly also worked closely with Kramer’s wife Carol, as they ran an annex of the Kramer shop from 1960 - 1961 in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

The present lot is a collaborative design that incorporates Ackerly’s fondness for anatomy and bones with Kramer’s signature modern style.

Well why not?...It is all to the good…just another aspect of the new medium of jewelry that offers the artist one of the richest and most rewarding environments for his own kind of expression.

Sam Kramer

Sam Kramer 1913–1964

Sam Kramer was born in and studied jewelry design in Pittsburgh. He began his career in the 1940s, peddling surrealist-inspired jewelry on the streets of Greenwich Village. He became a downtown personality, eventually establishing a shabby studio and shop full of taxidermy, swords, shells, bones, Mexican, Indian and Native American artifacts, and unusual stones and beads he salvaged from antique shops. A flyer by Kramer from this era (which were handed out on the streets by women dressed in space costumes and painted green) says that his jewelry “evolves from the dream world and the art world”. His oddball reputation did not precede him though, as he was one of the most respected mid-century jewelry designers.

Auction Results Sam Kramer