Plate

Plate

Plate

Plate

Plate

Plate

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Tray

Tray

Tray

Jewelry Box

Box

Candy Box

Desk Set

Plate

Service Plate

Davidson, Annemarie
Born in Berlin in 1920, Annemarie Behrendt moved with her family to New York in 1936. She studied economics at New York University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1941, and at Columbia University, where she was awarded her master’s in 1942. In 1942 she married Norman Davidson, a prominent chemist and molecular biologist, and they moved to Southern California in 1946, when he was appointed to the faculty of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

In 1957, while her husband was on sabbatical at Harvard University, Davidson studied briefly with the prominent enamelist Doris Hall at a community center in Cambridge. While Hall worked in a broad range of styles, from nonrepresentational to figurative, it was her brilliantly colored abstract work that most deeply influenced Davidson. Davidson’s earlier work, done between 1957 and 1959, reflects that influence in its sparkling color and vivid decoration. Upon her return to California in 1958, she continued her studies with the noted African American enamelist Curtis Tann (see below). Davidson was also a friend of the Los Angeles–based enamelist Mary Sharp. These two artists shared a more pictorial approach to enameling, which had little direct influence on Davidson, but their commitment to enameling as a legitimate form of contemporary art provided support for her as she continued her lifelong exploration of the medium.

Her work was selected for the prestigious Decorative Arts and Ceramics Exhibition at the Wichita Art Association in 1958, and it was featured in several of the pioneering California Design exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum in the early 1960s. In 1961 three of her works were reproduced in the catalogue for California Design 6. Throughout her long and richly productive career, Davidson has created forms intended for everyday use, which she decorates with spare abstract patterns or the free-form organic shapes that she calls “jewels.” For many of her abstract compositions, she uses a sgraffito technique, incising straight lines into the enamel, which fan out from a central focal point and present a linear counterpoint to the more fluid sculptural forms of her “jewels.” Davidson has collaborated with fellow artist Blaine Rath since 1959. Rath creates beautifully crafted boxes in a wide variety of woods, in which Davidson mounts her elegantly proportioned enamels. Her approach is in keeping with the designer-craftsman aesthetic, as she explained in an interview published in the Cross-Country Craftsman in 1962: “My philosophy of work is simple: I try to create something colorful and decorative in order to make small objects, necessary in the home, beautiful.”