Dancer Brooch, 1947
Self-taught jewelry designer Ed Wiener was part of the 1940s bohemian modernist movement of Provincetown, Massachusetts, and downtown Manhattan. He learned to make jewelry using plumbers’ and carpenters’ tools, and retained an affinity for the craftsmanship of design. The abstract form is based on dance photographer Barbara Morgan’s 1940 image of Martha Graham, a now famous portrait. Graham was a leader of early twentieth-century modern dance. Rather than display smooth, lyrical motions, she focused on the contraction and release of muscles, resulting in a mix of hard, angular and soft body formations considered radical at the time. Dance is necessarily transient, but through photography, Morgan instilled permanence in a striking moment; Wiener’s abstraction of that moment gives it a new life, a new movement, and a new permanence. In the moment captured, Graham’s body is horizontal, with her right elbow bent and her hand to her head and her left arm stretched straight back as her left leg kicks into the air and her long dress flows, creating a wing-like shape behind her. In Wiener’s rendition, sheet silver forms the body, dress, and right arm while one wire relays the head and left arm and a second the skirt ruffle.
It is credited
Gift of Michele Wiener.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 8 x 9.8 x 0.7 cm (3 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 1/4 in.)
Cite this object as
Dancer Brooch, 1947; Designed by Ed Wiener (American, 1918 - 1991); USA; silver; H x W x D: 8 x 9.8 x 0.7 cm (3 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 1/4 in.); Gift of Michele Wiener; 1991-169-1