An unusual Arts and Crafts era covered box of bronze or copper finished with a distinctive red patina by American metalsmith Marie Zimmermann (1879-1972). The box comes directly from the artist's estate and dates circa 1915 while Zimmermann maintained a workshop studio and showroom at the National Arts Club in New York City at Gramercy Park.
The box and lid were fashioned from heavy-gauge bronze or copper and show hammer marks overall. The base was raised from a single piece of metal with no visible seams. The red patina has a painterly quality with visible brush strokes on the lid. The patina shows areas of intentional distress combined with age-related wear, particularly on the base. Marked MARIE ZIMMERMANN MAKER around her MZ cipher underfoot, measuring 8.13 in. L x 7 in. W x 2.25 in. H.
Although the simplicity of the piece and visible hammer marks are pure Arts and Crafts design, the box would look right at home in an Asian-inspired interior as the color invokes historical Chinese lacquer designs. This historical quality is emphasized by intentionally worn surface areas, creating the appearance of an ancient and/or recently excavated artifact. Zimmermann is well-known for her creative use of color, experimenting with combinations of heat, chemicals, and a range of pigments, varnishes, and wax to achieve a range of distinctive finishes for her metalwork designs.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City holds the largest collection of objects by Marie Zimmermann, making their first acquisition in 1922. A variety of her jewelry and metalwork designs are also in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University and the Columbus Museum of Art.
Provenance: The estate of Marie Zimmermann.