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Museum Announces Jewelry Collection Gift from Daniel and Serga Nadler

Museum of Arts and Design Announces Gift of Major Global Jewelry Collection

Nadler Collection Encompasses 800 Works in Silver from Around World

Highlights Featured at Opening of MAD’s New Home at Columbus Circle

New York, NY (September 18, 2008)

The Museum of Arts and Design announced that collectors Daniel and Serga Nadler have made a promised gift of their renowned jewelry collection to the Museum. This unparalleled collection encompasses approximately 800 modern and contemporary works in silver from around the world. The Nadler Collection will enhance and expand the Museum’s existing jewelry collection, which will be displayed in MAD’s new home at Columbus Circle in the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery, a groundbreaking facility dedicated to the study and presentation of contemporary jewelry.

The Nadler Collection is one of the most comprehensive holdings of tribal, ethnic, and contemporary jewelry in the world. Acquired over the course of 30 years during collecting expeditions in Egypt, Morocco, Greece, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Mexico, and the Western United States, it features superbly designed and crafted body ornaments of silver and other materials. This collection of mostly anonymously made works resonates with design issues explored in MAD’s collection of studio jewelry, which consists primarily of non-precious materials from the United States and abroad and dates from the mid-20th century onward.

Daniel Nadler stated, “Serga and I are very pleased to present our jewelry collection to the Museum of Arts and Design as a promised gift. We are honored to join the roster of distinguished donors who have contributed to its diverse expressions of craftsmanship.”

Holly Hotchner, the Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design, added, “The Nadler Collection is a timely and important gift for the Museum as we expand our collections and exhibition programs to more fully reflect the global significance of art and design today. Rather than focusing solely on the ethnographic considerations behind these works, the Museum will present the Nadler Collection alongside the work of jewelry artists and designers so that visitors may explore the similarities and differences in process, materials, shape and form.”

Highlights from the Nadler Collection are exhibited as part of Forward Thinking: Building the MAD Collection, a special exhibition of recent and promised gifts on view at MAD’s new home. Featured works include a talozimt, an ornamental clasp used to fasten the clothing of Beni Yenni women. This beautifully enameled brooch, ornamented with coral cabochons, comes from the Great Kebiliye Mountains of northern Algeria. Also from North Africa is a pair of heavy silver cuffs from the Ziz and Draa Valleys, south of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The defensive purpose of these cuffs is evident.

Among the most impressive adornments in the Nadler Collection are a pair of silver anklets from India, each weighing 900 grams (or almost 2 pounds). These elegant anklets were made in the westernmost part of Gujarat, the Rann of Kutch, in Western India. Their size and weight reflect the importance of silver ornaments as a statement of both fashion and status.

Equally impressive is a hook fashioned by the Dong craftsmen from Guizhou Province in southeastern China. The Dong and the Miao wore these hooks to fasten shawls used for carrying loads; they were used singly or in a set, interlocking their spirally-wound cones.

David Revere McFadden, MAD’s Chief Curator, said, “This extraordinary collection documents the highest standards of craftsmanship and the powerful traditions of jewelry design around the world. Many modern and contemporary artists and jewelers have been deeply influenced by the work of such anonymous craftsmen.”

Serga Nadler stated, “As New Yorkers we are delighted that our collection of wearable art will be housed in such a beautiful new museum at Columbus Circle. We look forward to assisting MAD in developing the next generation of collectors, connoisseurs, and scholars of global jewelry.”

Daniel and Serga Nadler
Daniel Nadler was born in Egypt of European parents. He graduated from Cornell University as a civil engineer and spent most of his career in construction, which gave him the opportunity to travel throughout the world. While working in Iran, he met Serga, who was born in Tehran to Armenian and German parents. Today, Mrs. Nadler is an active volunteer docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Both Nadlers are accomplished photographers, as well as authors. Together the couple has written Silver: From Fetish to Fashion, which features personal commentary and photographs of the universe of silver adornments and beads. This book includes illustrations of many of the jewels from their collection, as displayed by their original wearers. Silver: From Fetish to Fashion is available at the MAD Store.

In addition, Mr. Nadler is the author and photographer of China to Order: Focusing on the 19th Century and Surveying Polychrome Porcelain Produced During the Qing Dynasty 1644-1908, a volume based on the couple’s extensive collection of Chinese Export porcelains. Mr. Nadler has also published Iran the Beautiful, which features his photographs from Iran, and Arathusa, which documents a safari in South Africa.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craft, art, and design intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting-edge technologies. The exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by creative and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1945 to the present day.

For more information about the Museum of Arts and Design, visit

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