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Robert King graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a student of John Van Koert. For two years he worked in Van Koert's commercial design studio, making silver jewelry and small novelties using the lost wax method.

After the war he entered the School for American Craftsmen in Alfred, New York, studying enameling and metalwork. Among the faculty there were Mitzi Otten, Lauritz Christian Eichner and John Prip. He received his M.A. and began working for Towle Silversmiths in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

A consummate craftsman, King himself made the models for Contour flatware and after the holloware.

Independent of Towle, he worked in silver and enamel and, during the 1950s, received competition awards for pieces included in such exhibitions as "Designer-Craftsmen U.S.A. 1953," the "Wichita Decorative Arts Annual" in 1954, and "Fiber, Clay, Metal" in 1957 and 1958.

His handmade work was exhibited in the American Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958.

After 13 years with the company, King left Towle in 1962 to become a staff designer at International Silver Company in Meriden, Connecticut.

For International's Moon Room exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair, King designed the unique Celestial Centerpiece, candelabra, and candlesticks, and his earlier carafe was also displayed.

King's work appeared in the prestigious traveling exhibitions "Objects USA," in 1970, and "Forms in Metal: 275 years of Metalsmithing in America," in 1975. He was in the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition "Design Since 1945."

His work is represented in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Yale University Art Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rochester Art Museum and the Minneapolis Museum of American Art.

Robert also took up pottery and watercolor in the '70s. He is a lifetime member of Wesleyan Potters and is represented in many private collections. At 88 he still actively continues to create. He has three grown children and four grandchildren and has passed on his love of art and design to them.

His work is on exhibit through Jan. 22, 2006, in "Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design," at the Renwick in Washington, D.C. The show and its accompanying book is the work of Jewel Stern, an independent scholar and collector of American silver.

That exhibition will also be seen at:

  • Dallas Museum of Art, June 18 - Sept. 24, 2006
  • The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, Nov. 17, 2006 March 25, 2007
  • The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee, April 22 July 15, 2007




University of Wisconsin - B.S. 1941
School for American Craftsmen, NY - 1947-1949


Designer, Towle Silversmiths, Newburyport, MA 1949-1962
Designer, International Silver Company, Wallingford, CT 1962-1977



  • Designer-Craftsmen U.S.A. Competition, 1953 - 2nd place award
  • St. Paul Fiber, Clay Metal Exhibition, 1957 - 1st place award
  • Sterling Silversmith Guild Competition, 1957 - 3rd place award
  • Sterling Silversmith Guild Competition, 1958 - 2nd place award


  • Wichita Decorative Arts Show, 1954 - 1st place award
  • Massachusetts Crafts Today, 1959 - 1st place award
  • Providence Arts Festival, 1961 - 1st place award


  • Rochester Jewelry and Related Objects Exhibition, 1957 - 1st place award
  • Massachusetts Crafts Today, 1959 - 1st place award
  • Massachusetts Crafts Today, 1961 - 1st place award


  • Minneapolis Museum of American Art
  • Rochester Art Museum
  • Museum of Arts And Design, NYC
  • The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
  • Yale University Art Gallery
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C.
  • Dallas Museum of Art, Jewel Stern American Silver Collection


  • Exhibited at Brussels World's Fair, 1958
  • Exhibited at New York's World's Fair, 1963-4
  • The Museum of Contemporary Crafts (now Art and Design) commissioned an enamel box for its permanent collection, 1960
  • Exhibited in Smithsonian USAI Exhibition that toured European countries, 1959
  • 'Silver Heirlooms of Today and Tomorrow,' Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1951
  • 'Craftsmen in a Changing World,' Museum of Contemporary Crafts, 1956
  • 'Excellence of the Object,' American Craftsmen's Council, 1969
  • 'Forms in Metal, 275 Years of Metalsmithing in America,' 1975
  • 'Design Since 1945,' Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983
  • 'Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design,' Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2005-6. Includes a national tour

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