Renowned jewelry designer, Mary Schimpff Webb, 97, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida passed away on August 20, 2019. She was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1922. As the only daughter in the creative and art-minded family of Herman and Frances (Augustine) Schimpff, Mary began her career as an artist at the early age of three when she attended her first museum art class.
Mary was predeceased by her husband Bruce Webb and is survived by many friends and her cousins Edward and Mary Hamilton, Robyn (Ducharme) Fogelberg, Peter Ducharme, Donna Ducharme, Jill Hamilton, and Freeman Cullom. Mary was a member of the Christian Science Church in New Smyrna Beach.
After attending Peoria Art Institute and Illinois State University, she partnered with her mother to establish Schimpff Studio in Bloomington, Illinois, operating there and at their summer gallery in Glen Arbor, Michigan, for 30 years before moving to New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Mary Schimpff Webb, revered for her unconventional and innovative jewelry designs, ranked among the first artisans to combine precious and semi-precious stones with various metals. She established a reputation as a forerunner in the American Modernist jewelry movement.
Mary entered her first competition at the American House Gallery in NYC and won a top award. She went on to win the De Beers Diamonds, USA Award in 1955 and 1956, and the De Beers, Diamonds International Award in 1958 and 1959. Recognized for her exceptional talent, she gained exclusive membership into the Diamonds International Academy. Mary was the youngest woman to win any of the Diamond Design Awards in a male dominated industry.
Her work has been exhibited in The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Fifth Avenue Georg Jensen; Orlando Museum of Art; Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences; and the Museum of Art- DeLand. Her work is included the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Her award-winning designs are featured in the following publications: Modernist Jewelry 1930-1960: The Wearable Art Movement; The Metalsmith’s Book of Boxes and Lockets; The Penland Book of Jewelry: Master Classes in Jewelry Techniques; Art in America and American Craft Magazine.
Webb taught workshops at Wild Acres in North Carolina for the Southeastern Federation of the Gem and Mineral Society, the Museum of Art – DeLand, FL, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL.
Schimpff Webb served as the chairman of the North Central Region of the American Crafts Council and as president of the N.E. Chapter of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths, a group she and her late husband co-founded.
In 2015, Mary was inducted into the Florida Society of Goldsmiths Hall of Fame for her exceptional 75-year career and contribution to metalsmithing.
Mary Schimpff Webb has been represented by Arts on Douglas, a commercial gallery located at 123 Douglas Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL, from 1996 to present. A memorial celebration for Mary will be held at the gallery on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at 3:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Arts on Douglas.