For sale here is a very rare vintage 1950s one of a kind handmade pewter and enamel over silver and gold modernist box by American artist/enamelist Hilda Kraus. A two piece box with the top fitting closely over the bottom section. The top section features the enamel over gold and silver artwork at top, and the bottom section is signed inside as shown. No doubt one of a kind as were all of her boxes, and a very beautiful design of an imaginary creature perhaps a fabulous 'flame sheep'? Hilda Kraus was a renaissance-woman, and worked in a lot of different materials over the course of her career. She is particularly well known for her handmade pewter boxes, most with inset enamel on gold overlaid on silver sections like this one. Here's a short bio of the artist that I found online...
Hilda Kraus, a well-known designer, artist, jeweler, enamelist and metalsmith, was born in New York City in 1915. She had a B.A. from Hunter College in 1935 and completed her post graduate studies at International Academy of Art, Salzburg, Austria, in 1967, 72, 77. Ms. Kraus served as an apprentice to a Danish silversmith for 3 years. and studied traditional enameling methods in the great centers of Europe (France, Italy, Germany). She at one time had shops in N.Y.C, Connecticut and Maine. When she moved to Westport in the 1950’s she maintained her studio in her home. Hilda spent many hours teaching and taking classes at the Brookfield Craft Center, as well as being a part of both solo and joint exhibitions there. Hilda was a lifetime member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists and a Master Craftsman as awarded by the Society for Connecticut Craftsman. During her lifetime, Hilda was the recipient of many awards and prizes for her work both here and in Europe, especially for her work in cloisonné enamels. Her work is in the collections of the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; and the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington.
In 1946, her work was featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art called Modern Handmade Jewelry, one of the earliest and most influential jewelry exhibitions in the postwar period. She was also awarded a purchase prize in the seminal exhibition Enamels ’70 organized by the Craft Alliance of St. Louis.
Understanding the vision and importance of the Brookfield Craft Center as an institution of fine craft and catalyst for creativity, Ms. Kraus left a legacy gift to the BCC upon her death in 2014. Through the generosity of her long-time friend and Brookfield Craft Center supporter, Nell Mullen, a retrospective exhibition of her life’s work was featured in the Lynn Tendler Bignell gallery at the Craft Center in April of 2017.
The box is in two pieces, the lid and the base. The box measures 2-5/8" by 2-1/2" at top by 1-3/8" tall, and weighs a total of 152 grams or approximately 5 ounces. Stamped mark inside as shown, "Hilda Kraus Pewter". Pewter is a soft metal, so there are some fine light scratches to the metal and some tarnish in spots that can be easily removed with a jar of store-bought pewter polish, or you may choose to have the box professionally polished, but the enamel is flawless with no chips cracks crazing or damage whatsoever as shown - please view the photos, read the description, and ask all questions prior to purchase. I am open to reasonable offers from serious buyers.