Remembering: Florence Resnikoff

Remembering: Florence Resnikoff

Florence Resnikoff, 2011

Florence Resnikoff, 2011. Image courtesy Kimberly Keyworth.

Today we celebrate the life of artist, educator, and leader in the field of metals and jewelry, Florence L. Resnikoff, who died peacefully in her Oakland, California, home on April 8, 2013, the day after her 93rd birthday. 

Resnikoff's interest in metals and jewelry began when she studied in the mid-1940s at the Chicago Art Institute's Oxbow School of the Arts. Resnikoff relocated to Palo Alto in the early 1950s, where together with other metalsmiths in the area, including Margaret de Patta, Merry Renk Francis Spensen, and Byron Wilson among others, she formed the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Arts Guild (MAG). By 1956, Resnikoff was recognized in Craft Horizons (October 1956) as one of Northern California's leaders in "experimental jewelry." That same year, she had her first solo show at the Art Gallery at Stanford University.

Several other exhibitions followed in the late 1950s-60s. During this time, Resnikoff explored ancient techniques of plique-à-jour and champlevé enameling, as well as new methods like anodizing and electroforming in brilliant hues and forms. In the early 1960s, Resnikoff returned to school and got a BFA in 1967 from the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC, but today known as California College of the Arts (CCA) in Oakland), and an MA in Art from San Jose State University in 1973. That same year, Resnikoff received a grant from the NEA that allowed her to study under renowned jeweler and expert in electroforming, Stanley Lechtzin, at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.

Upon returning from her studies on the east coast in late 1973, Resnikoff took a position as a professor at CCAC. She went on to become Head of the jewelry & metal arts program, a position she would hold until her retirement in 1989. In 1990 she was designated a professor emerita and a scholarship fund was created in her name. In 1985 she was named a California Living Treasure. Resnikoff's works can today be found in the permanent collections of the City and County of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. An early sterling silver neckpiece by her was recently featured as part of the traveling Los Angeles County Museum of Art show (now in Japan) "California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way."   

Resnikoff is survived by many friends and students and by her son Carl Resnikoff and daughter-in-law Rachel Resnikoff of Berkeley, CA. She was married to her husband George Resnikoff, a professor of Statistics, for 50 years. He died in 1994.