Throughout history, it has always been the culture-makers who reshape the national spirit after times of crisis. In Mexico in the 1920’s and 30’s, in the wake of the the Mexican Revolution, artists and artisans rediscovered the aesthetic of their pre-Columbian heritage and turned it into a mid-century movement. Antonio Pineda, several of whose silver pieces are included in our auction of Fine Jewelry
, was one of the Mexican artisans of the early and mid-20th century whose dramatic silver jewelry drew the attention of Hollywood stars and American socialites.
Pineda was a member of the Taxco School of silversmiths, which developed out of the workshop of American architect William Spratling. Spratling taught architecture at Tulane University and spent his summers in Mexico in the 1920s. In 1929, he moved to the little historical silver-mining town of Taxco permanently. Using money he earned arranging commissions for his friend Diego Rivera, Spratling set up a silver workshop called Taller de las Delicias
. Spratling recognized the dormant economic potential of Mexican silver, and used it to revitalize Taxco. Like Rivera and other Mexican artists in the aftermath of the revolution, Spratling rejected the European Art Nouveau style that dictator Porfirio Diaz had insisted on for decades. Instead, Spratling drew on mesoamerican themes from pre-European conquest.