Robert Ebendorf

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Robert Ebendorf
Robert Ebendorf

(1938-09-30) September 30, 1938 (age 84)
EducationUniversity of Kansas
Known forCraft, art and studio metalwork and jewelry
AwardsFulbright Scholar, National Endowment for the Arts

Robert Ebendorf (born September 30, 1938) is an American metalsmith and jeweler, known for craft, art and studio jewelry, often using found objects.[1] In 2003–2004, the Smithsonian American Art Museum organized an exhibition of 95 pieces, titled The Jewelry of Robert Ebendorf: A Retrospective of Forty Years.[2]


Born on September 30, 1938, in Topeka, Kansas, the son of Dr. Harry Ebendorf and Nomah Large, a homemaker. Starting at a young age, his father would take him to his paternal grandparent's tailor shop. There he would watch them work together, creating articles of clothing. He credits the time spent there, and his mother, with helping create his sensitivity to the world around him and leading him to choose a career in art.[3]

Academics challenged Ebendorf due to a learning disability, dyslexia. However he excelled at sports, and was offered full scholarships for wrestling and football.[3] With the encouragement of his high school art teacher, he instead decided to pursue art and chose to attend the University of Kansas where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1960, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1963.[4] He was influenced by the jewelry designed by Irena Brynner and by Scandinavian art.[5][3]

After graduation, Ebendorf received a Fulbright Scholar Grant to study abroad at the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts in Oslo, Norway. He returned to Norway again in 1965 when he was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant. He stayed there until 1966, working in Fredikstad at Norway Silver Designs.[3]

From 1967 until 1971, Ebendorf taught at the University of Georgia.[6] Starting in 1970, Ebendorf joined Kurt Matzdorf in the metals department at State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz), where he remained until 1988.[6][7]

In 1999, he was named the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Art at the East Carolina University School of Art and Design.[8] and is a board member of the National Endowment for the Arts.[9]


The Smithsonian exhibition was held in the Renwick Gallery and traveled to other museums. Ebendorf's work has been published extensively, and displayed in galleries around the world.[8] He was one of the founding members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths [Wikidata] in 1970, and is an inductee of the National Metalsmiths Hall of Fame.[10]

In addition to the Fulbright Scholarship and Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, Ebendorf has received a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and American Crafts Council Award,[8] and in 2005 was named a Master of the Medium by the Renwick Alliance.[9] In 2014, Ebendorf was given the Society of North American Goldsmith's Lifetime Achievement Award[11]

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has four,[12] the Metropolitan Museum has five,[13] the Asheville Art Museum has two,[14] and the Museum of Arts and Design has two[15] Ebendorf pieces in their permanent collections.


  1. ^ "Retrospective of Metalsmith: Robert Ebendorf's Pioneering Career".
  2. ^ "Smithsonian Institution Exhibition Announcement and Catalog".
  3. ^ a b c d "Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2004 - Robert Ebendorf Oral History Interview".
  4. ^ "Smithsonian Institution Biography of Robery Ebendorf".
  5. ^ Brass, Kaitlyn. Irene Brynner (1917–2003) (PDF). Historical Masters. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 14, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Visiting Artists: Robert Ebendorf". Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University. Retrieved 2021-06-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Robinson, Ruth (1977-08-22). "The Jewelry Is Disparate, But the Artists Share a Bond". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  8. ^ a b c "East Carolina University Academic Biography of Robert Ebendorf". Archived from the original on 2012-10-14.
  9. ^ a b "University of the West of England Biography of Visiting Professor Bob Ebendorf".
  10. ^ "East Carolina University Press Release". Archived from the original on 2004-12-07.
  11. ^ "2014 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Ebendorf". Society of North American Goldsmiths. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Smithsonian Institution Collection Online".
  13. ^ "Metropolitan Museum Collection Online".
  14. ^ "Asheville Art Museum Collection Online".
  15. ^ "MAD Museum Collection Online".

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