Albert Paley (b.1944) American modernist metal sculptor

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Albert Paley featured image

Decorative and functional metalwork combining old and new methods

Albert Paley (born 1944) is an American modernist metal sculptor. Starting as a jeweller, he has evolved into one of the world’s most renowned and famous metalsmiths. Furniture, gates, railings, and staircases are among his creations. He consults with architects and space planners, and he leads a team of craftspeople in his Rochester, New York, facilities.

Ring by Albert Paley (1974) THE MET
Ring by Albert Paley (1974) THE MET

His work is ornamental yet sculptural in scale. It owes a lot to both art nouveau and Romanesque architecture’s simpler harmony of curves. All of his work works flawlessly, with gates that open and latches that close properly. Paley puts function first: “What gets made has to work as it is supposed to do.” He employs both old and modern blacksmithing processes, as well as hydraulic presses. Apart from his work’s undeniable aesthetic and utilitarian success, Paley has succeeded in combining what many craft-based designers have struggled to do: the practice of handwork and heavy industrial manufacturing.

Necklace - Albert Paley (1973) The MET
Necklace – Albert Paley (1973) The MET

Recognition

  • 2010: American Craft Council Gold Medal Award for consummate craftsmanship
  • 1998: received the Artist of the Year Award of the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester.
  • 1997: Smithsonian Institution, Masters of the Medium Award, Washington, D.C.
  • 1995: American Institute of Architects (AIA), Institute Honors Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Citation for Distinguished Service in the Visual Arts
  • 1994: American Craft Council, Inducted to the College of Fellows
  • 1982: American Institute of Architects (AIA), Award of Excellence

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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