Taxco Mexican Silver Shines at Bonhams Los Angeles

Los Angeles - On June 15, Bonhams Los Angeles will present Mexican Silver: Jewels and Objects from The Crawford Collection featuring more than 250 pieces of objects, tableware, and wearable sculpture. Standout pieces include the "Jaguar" tea and coffee service by William Spratling (estimate: $15,000 - 20,000), a fish necklace and cuff by Los Castillo (estimate: $5,000 - 7,000), and an amethyst collar by Antonio Pineda that cascades down the neck (estimate: $1,800 - 2,000). Globally, Mexican silver jewelry of the 1920s–1970s remains some of the most desirable modernist jewelry for collectors and is increasing sought after by museum collections such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

These rare and wonderful pieces were sought over a lifetime by private collectors Byron and Jill Crawford who bought works they loved and assembled an array of highly coveted, museum-quality works, many of which have been featured in important books and exhibitions. This is the second sale in a series from the Crawford Collection. The first sale, Wearable Art in October, exceeded expectations with 95% sold for more than $1,700,000.

The collection contains more than 150 examples of work by William Spratling (1900 – 1967), considered the father of Taxco jewelry at the center of the Modernist Mexican silver movement. When the young, creative American professor of architecture, arrived in Taxco in 1926, he joined a milieu of notable writers and artists including William Faulkner and Diego Rivera, who became a lifelong friend. Spratling established Taxco as a center for bold, high quality silver designs by hiring skilled silversmiths to make his designs with motifs inspired by Pre-Columbian and Aztec art and design incorporating native stones (typically amethyst, turquoise, coral, rosewood, and abalone). The examples in this collection are some of the finest examples that remain from Spratling's oeuvre.

Also included in the sale are works from other notable artists such as Los Castillo, Antonio Pineda, Hector Aguilar, and Margot de Taxco. The astonishing and powerful Mexican silver jewelry of the 1920s–1970s draws on the reinvention of a distinctive history. The inspiration for these works spans centuries and incorporates stories of conquest and oppression, cultural cross pollination, and profound individual ingenuity and artistry. With pieces at every price point, this sale offers a rare chance to purchase highly desirable examples of Taxco silver. Bidding starts at $100.

Collector Jill Crawford said, "It has been my great passion and pleasure to own and wear the jewelry in my collection. I have spent a lifetime searching for the greatest examples by artists I admire. When I am wearing a great piece of jewelry, I feel connected to the artist, and I become part of the story a piece is telling. Jewelry is meant to be worn, and in the hands of a passionate collector it becomes transcendent."

Head of Jewelry, Bonhams Los Angeles, Emily Waterfall said, "Working with The Crawford Collection has been a dream. These are some of the finest individual examples of jewelry work by Taxco artists William Spratling, Antonio Pineda, Los Castillo, and others to ever come to auction. Taken individually they are exquisite and viewing the collection as a whole is a stunning look at one of the best private collections of Mexican silver in the world."

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