March 1, 2022

Women’s History Month: Featuring Marie Zimmermann

Portrait of metalsmith Marie Zimmermann holding a copper plate

  

Portrait of metalsmith Marie Zimmermann holding a copper plate
Marie Zimmermann, 1914, The Friends of Marie Zimmermann

We want to highlight a special person to the metals world in honor of Women’s History Month. Marie Zimmermann was a nationally-acclaimed jewelry and metal-working artist born in Brooklyn in 1879.

Marie attended classes at Pratt Institute where she fell in love with metalwork and decided to become an artist, despite her father’s wishes for her to become a doctor. Marie was headstrong, and spent 10+ hours a day practicing her crafts for over 25 years. Even though Marie focused on metal she was also known to be a sculptress, a painter, a goldsmith and a silversmith, a cabinet maker, a wood carver, a jeweler, and even a blacksmith. She gained recognition for her innovative techniques such as ageless patinas and work with rare gemstones.

Marie’s work has been shown all over the country, and there is a permanent collection of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

wooden box made by Marie Zimmermann. Small box with lid colored pattern green, purple, and brown
Egyptian Box, ca 1910-1920
on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Her family purchased a farm in Dingmans Ferry, PA that would become a second home and summer retreat.

Marie played a big part in designing the house, which is located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area today. Marie and her family liked to hunt, fish, and be outside. The nature surrounding this home was a major influence on Marie’s work. 

Marie retired from her art career in her mid 60’s and permanently moved to the house in Dingmans Ferry. Even in her last years at the house she was known to hunt and maintain two beautiful flower gardens on the property. Marie moved to Florida for the remainder of her years until she died in 1972 at the age of 93.

The greatest takeaway that Marie Zimmermann has given is simple: do what you love. Whatever your love is, do it until it becomes a part of you. Lastly, don’t give up on who you want to be.

two-story stone house with green shutters and white trim
Front view of the Marie Zimmermann House – The Friends of Marie Zimmermann

The Friends of Marie Zimmermann is a non-profit organization that keeps the lifelong work of Marie meaningful to this day. They are responsible for arranging the restoration of the house in 2010. It is a stunning Dutch Colonial Revival with Breton touches, and visitors are allowed to go inside certain days of the year. The Friends of Marie Zimmermann organization sponsors one full scholarship for a Delaware Valley High School Student to study at Peters Valley and also partners with Pratt Institute to sponsor one of their students to take a workshop each summer. 

Through the Marie and John Zimmermann Fund, a scholarship program has been established at Peters Valley, allowing those with the need and desire to further develop their skills and understanding of metals, to participate in workshops. The Foundation also sponsors the Fine Metals and Blacksmithing Assistantships and Artist Fellowships at Peters Valley.

There is a book about Marie Zimmermann’s work called The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann (Yale University Press, copyright © 2011) It was written by Deborah Dependahl Waters, Joseph Cunningham, Bruce Barnes, and Kim Ahara.

For more information about Marie Zimmermann and the Friends visit https://www.friendsofmariezimmermann.org/index.html

For more information about the scholarship opportunity visit https://petersvalley.org/learn-with-us/scholarships/marie-zimmermann-legacy-metals-scholarships/

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