Antonio Pineda (1919 – 2009) internationally renowned Mexican modernist silversmith praised for bold, striking jewelry designs and ingenious use of gemstones. He is one of the finest designers of the Mexican Silver Renaissance of the 20th Century that began in the 1930’s.
Born into a native Taxco family, he studied painting and sculpture at the progressive Open Air School of Taxco. At age 14, he apprenticed at William Spratling’s recently founded, Taller de Las Delicias. It was there that Antonio learned the silversmith craft.
After eight years with Spratling and having achieved the status of Master, Pineda founded his own workshop in 1941. It was there that his designs demonstrated his innate artistic talents.
His international recognition began in 1946 when his work appeared alongside that of Margaret De Patta and Georg Jensen at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. After the exhibition, department store magnate, Richard Gump purchased the entire collection to offer exclusively in their store. The relationship with Gump’s lasted for the next decade. Other partnerships followed in Mexico, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
During his career as silversmith and designer, Pineda won competitions and accolades in Mexico and internationally. The 1940’s were important to Pineda’s artistic development. He attended a Mexico City trade school to refine his craftsmanship.
It was during this time that he met Valentin Vidauretta a painter and silversmith who operated a highly regarded shop in Mexico City. Pineda credited Vidauretta’s influence with helping him develop his signature styles that became part of the Modern Mexican School.
Pineda’s creations are large, spare, cleanly designed sets of hollow construction using custom-cut stones in innovative settings. He also employed unique joining, catches, and closures. These pieces are among the most technically refined produced in the Taxco region. At his peak, Pineda employed nearly 100 other silversmiths.
By 1956, his success necessitated the establishment of a second workshop to meet the ever-growing demand for his work. Always interested in promoting local fine design and silversmith originality, Pineda helped organize the earliest Taxco Silver Fairs (“Ferias de la Plata.”) It was at the 1953 and 1959 fairs that he won the Presidential Prize.
Pineda’s works were individually crafted and designed. They made stunning use of semiprecious and precious stones that at least one expert claims, “…were beautifully designed to fit the human body.”
Pineda’s creations include sculpture that he began exhibiting internationally, including in Chicago, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam and Mexico City.
Very articulate about his work and the creative process, one of Pineda’s favorite sayings was, “The richness of silver is immortal. It doesn’t die.”