Image: Edward Levin, North America (1921-2008), Earrings, 1950-1954, Museum purchase
Written by Liam Wanner, DOMA Guard
You’re faced with a decision: left or right? To your left there are glass doors with wooden frames. You hear phones ringing and employees typing, these are the offices of DOMA employees, interns and assistants. You decided to take a right into the Decorative Arts. The yellow lights shine against the delicate jewelry in the glass cases.
The 20th century silver and bronze pair of earrings strikes your eye. It almost reminds you of a pendulum, their beauty shining as you sway against the museum’s lights. You are looking at the work of Edward Levin (1921–2008).
Levin, New York City native, first explored his creativity by studying fine arts at Columbia University. After graduating, he continued to explore his education at both Alfred University and the Barnes Foundation.
When faced with sudden odds of being drafted during World War II, Levin was able to refuse by requesting conscientious objector status. According to the Selective Service System, this status is achieved when someone successfully defends their moral or religious beliefs in order to avoid entering the military.
Filled with determination to follow his passion, he instead worked as an apprentice for a Florentine master jeweler in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Levin and his first wife, Ruth Perlmutter, created jewelry together on the stove top of their New York City apartment. Coined Ed Levin jewelry, he grew his clientele by traveling through New England to sell their pieces to university students.
Levin had a vast skillset. Although he was primarily recognized for his jewelry-making skills, he also dabbled in other realms of creativity. Not only did he invent new machines and techniques in the world of jewelry-making, he was also a painter, sculptor and ceramicist.
There is a unique sense of novelty in Levin’s work due to the simplistic and rounded features. Most of his pieces fall into the category of contemporary and modernist art; they are carefully crafted using a variety of metals such as bronze and sterling silver.
Ed Levin Jewelry is one of the longest-running major handmade jewelry companies in the industry. Even the oldest pieces from Levin’s line can be deemed timeless due to the effortless flow and rhythm exhibited by their composition.
As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at bsu.edu/doma.