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Earl Pardon

Posted: 12/04/2008

Skidmore’s retrospective exhibition of jeweler and metalsmith Earl Pardon continues through Dec. 14 in the Schick Art Gallery. Titled “Palette Maestro,” the exhibition was last on view at the Racine (Wisc.) Art Museum and is curated by Rosanne Raab, a 1955 Skidmore graduate and eminent art advisor whose firm specializes in the arts of craft and design. The jewelry of the late Earl Pardon is perhaps best understood in the context of his involvement in the field of art. Exhibiting widely, he received awards and commissions in jewelry, enameling, painting and sculpture. As a professor of art, he taught courses in enameling and jewelry in the Art Department at Skidmore for more than 30 years. He began teaching at the College in 1951, served as department chair for nine years (1968-1977), and retired in the spring of 1989. He devoted himself to studio work in jewelry, often producing a new piece a day, until his death in 1991.

According to Raab, “Earl Pardon played a significant role in the evolution of 20th century studio jewelry. He mastered materials and brought his divergent interests in painting and sculpture into innovative ‘portable’ art.”

The exhibition demonstrates a selection of the late artist’s works including objects and a large collection of jewelry in sterling silver and a variety of metals as well as wood, ebony, enamel, semi-precious stones, and other materials. Also included are a number of pieces donated by Pardon’s family, including brass sculptures and a scale model of a wall design that Pardon created for the corporate headquarters of Prudential Insurance Co. in Newark, N.J. These additions remind the viewer of Pardon’s versatility as an artist and his skill as a craftsman.

Pardon’s work is held in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Yale Gallery of Art, New Haven, Conn.; the Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and the Racine Art Museum, among others.

Photos by: David Mishler '09, Madeline Sullivan '11 and the Schick Gallery

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