Expressing Life: European Jewelry & Art Design with Stefanie Walker, Jewelry Historian & Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities

Episode 54

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What role the King Tut exhibition played in sparking Stefanie’s desire to learn goldsmithing.
  • How the jeweler apprenticeship system works in Germany.
  • How famed glassmaker and jeweler René Lalique’s complex relationships with the women in his life played a major role in his jewelry designs.
  • The history behind The Met’s catalogue and exhibit “The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery” and Stefanie’s work as a contributor.

About Stefanie Walker:

Stefanie Walker received her Ph.D. in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and specializes in European sculpture and decorative arts from the 16th through 18th centuries, with an emphasis on the history of jewelry and the arts of Rome. For ten years, Stefanie curated exhibitions and taught graduate courses at Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts (BGC) in New York City. At BGC, she co-edited and contributed to the exhibition catalogs for Life and the Arts in the Baroque Palaces of Rome: Ambiente Barocco (1998) and Vasemania: Form and Ornament in Neoclassical Europe (2004). Her background as a certified goldsmith led to the BGC exhibition and catalog Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry (2004), a publication on the Renaissance “Jewel Book” of the Dukes of Bavaria (2008) and two contributions to The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog for The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery (2017).

Stefanie is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and an honorary member of the Roman Goldsmith’s Guild. She is an adjunct faculty member of the master’s program in the History of Decorative Arts run jointly by The Smithsonian Associates and George Washington University. She currently works as a Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Stefanie lectures frequently at The Smithsonian and for jewelry groups, including the American Society of Jewelry Historians, Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts, D.C. GIA Alumni, among others.

Additional resources:

Episode Transcript

Sharon Berman