Sunday, March 21, 2010

William Spratling and William Faulkner 1925 624 Pirates Alley New Orleans

Dragonfly Pin by William Spratling

This is the person who lived at 624 Pirates Alley in New Orleans at the same time in 1925 as William Faulkner.
Click on the above link to see some fine examples of his work.
William Spratling
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Spratling (September 22, 1900 - August 7, 1967) was an American-born silversmith and artist, best known for his influence on 20th century Mexican silver design.

Spratling was born in 1900 in Sonyea, Livingston County, New York, the son of epileptologist William P. Spratling. After the deaths of Spratling's mother and sister, he moved to his father's boyhood home outside of Auburn, Alabama. Spratling graduated from Auburn High School and Auburn University, where he majored in architecture. Upon graduation, Spratling took a position as an instructor in the architecture department at Auburn, and in 1921 he was offered a similar position at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

While teaching at Tulane, Spratling shared a house with writer William Faulkner, and they collaborated to produce Sherwood Anderson And Other Famous Creoles, a satire of the bohemian atmosphere of the French Quarter in the 1920s.

In 1929, Spratling, inspired by several summer visits, moved to Mexico, where he quickly integrated himself into the Mexican art scene. He became a friend and a strong proponent of the work of muralist Diego Rivera, for whom he organized an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Using money received from commissions he organized for Rivera, Spratling purchased a home in Taxco, southwest of Mexico City.

Taxco was a traditional site of silver mines, but had no native silverworking industry. Spratling began designing works in silver based primarily on pre-Columbian and traditional motifs, and hired local goldsmiths to produce those designs in Taxco. As the reputation for Spratling's silver designs grew, he expanded his operation, and began an apprenticeship program for others interested in designing in silver, many of whom continued to work in the Taxco area--with Spratling's support--once their apprenticeship was over.

By the 1940s, Spratling was selling his designs throughout Mexico and the United States, and moved his design studio to a ranch south of Taxco at Taxco el Viejo. In 1949, the United States Department of the Interior started an exchange program between Spratling's design studio and seven Alaskan students in order to start a similar workshop in Alaska. While the Alaskan workshop never came to fruition, Alaskan design motifs began to influence Spratling's subsequent work.

Primarily, Spratling's silver designs drew upon aboriginal Mesoamerican motifs, with influence from other native and Western cultures. To many, his work served as an expression of Mexican nationalism, and gave Mexican artisans the freedom to create designs in non-European forms. Because of his influence on the silver design industry in Mexico, Spratling has been called the "Father of Mexican Silver".

Spratling was gay, but most accounts of his life mention this fact only indirectly if at all.

Spratling was killed in an automobile accident outside of Taxco on August 7, 1967, aged 66.

1.^ Mark, Joan (2000). The Silver Gringo: William Spratling and Taxco. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 16, 39, 115. ISBN 0826320791.
2.^ Ochsner, Jeffrey (2007). Lionel H. Pries, Architect, Artist, Educator: From Arts and Crafts to Modern Architecture. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. pp. 103–5. ISBN 0295986980.
[edit] Further reading
Goddard, Phyllis M., Spratling Silver: A Field Guide, Keenan Tyler Paine, Altadena CA 2003
Littleton, Taylor D. The Color of Silver: William Spratling, His Life and Art, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge 2000
Morrill, Penny C., William Spratling and the Mexican Silver Renaissance: Maestros de Plata, Harry N. Abrams, New York; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio 2002
Morrill, Penny Chittim, and Berk, Carole A., Mexican Silver: 20th Century Handwrought Jewelry & Metalwork, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA 1994
Reed, John Shelton, "The Man from New Orleans," Oxford American, November/December 2000: 102-107
Spratling, William, File on Spratling: An Autobiography, Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1967