Peter Macchiarini Bio
I was born to Italian parents on the Wohler Ranch, a hop yard and vineyard spread on the Russian river near Santa Rosa, Sonoma County on August 27, 1909. I attended grammar school and high schools in Sonoma County until the age of fourteen at which time my parents returned to Italy. There I took preliminary courses in the Italian language and having decided on an artistic career, took the entry examinations for the Art Academy Pietrasanta, Province of Lucca, and was accepted. At the Academy I received basic training in marble carving, clay modeling, architectural drawing and general sciences.
In 1928 I returned to the United States and was gainfully employed as a stonecarver with several San Francisco Bay Area firms. I continued my art studies in San Francisco at the California School of Fine Arts, taking night courses. In 1936, I worked on projects under Beniamino Bufano and Ralph Stackpole.
I first made jewelry in 1936 and ventured into the avant-garde aspects before World War II. I was not able to open my own business and devote my full time to making original contemporary until the end of the war. Since I was one of the first in the field of avant-garde jewelry at that time, in addition to doing the creative work it was necessary for me to put forth an extraordinary effort to build up a selective and discriminating clientele. It has been gratifying to me that my work and position with respect to creative design have consistently gained favor with the public as well as with museums and other art institutions. This has enabled me to maintain myself and my family by devoting all of my time to creative work.
I helped organize and took part in the first San Francisco outdoor Art Festivals in Hoteling Place and the Ferry Building in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Because of its nature, the Art Festival fills a need for both artist and the public that the more structured form of the museum cannot encompass. Therefore I was also active on the committee in 1946 which secured city sponsorship of the San Francisco Art Festival and have taken part in every one during its existence. Over the years I have won more awards in the Art Festival than any other individual artist. I also helped organize the Berkeley outdoor show and took part in the first Sausalito festival. I was on the committee that organized the Upper Grant Avenue Street Fair, the first merchant sponsored art fair in the Bay Area, and have directed it many times.
Although my current creative work and projects have prevented me from engaging in the teaching profession, I gained teaching experience by holding classes in my shop in the late 1940s. During the 1952 and 1955 six weeks summer sessions at Mills College, Oakland, California, I was an instructor in jewelry and metal sculpture. In 1953 I conducted a jewelry course in Lafayette, California.
I have lectured extensively throughout the Bay Area on jewelry and metal work for various museums, private organizations, radio and television. My sculpture and jewelry are represented in the permanent collections of the State of California, the Oakland Museum and the City and County of San Francisco, and many private collections. Walter Benisek/Gallery, Montreal Museum, Metal Arts Guild of which I was one of the original organizers.
Following is a list of exhibitions, prizes, articles and other activities I have had in connection with my work. Jewelry exhibits and competitions did not begin until the late Forties when sufficient artists engaged in the activity to warrant exhibition.
I also am included in many international as well as national publications as a major exponent of the Modernism American studio jewelry.
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