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portrait of Paley

Albert Paley

Paley was born in Philadelphia in 1944. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Paley chose to earn his M.F.A. in jewelry and metalsmithing due to the flexibility he experienced with the medium and methodical approach to the material. He has traveled to Europe, midway through his studies, to research European metalwork. Paley visited twenty jewelers and metalsmiths including the Pomodoro brothers, Max Frohlich; all of which helped him to gain perspective of trends and problems metalsmiths deal with and he also established important contacts. His graduate thesis work dealt with integral mechanisms as they applied to brooch forms. Paley conducted research on Greek and Etruscan fibula forms and incorporated those mechanisms into his brooch forms. He viewed his pieces as a totality of aesthetics between the form and the mechanism.

In 1970 he started his exploration in iron. Iron offered Paley to work in a larger scale. He is recognized in the metalsmithing community for his extraordinary work with ferrous metals. Nearly all of his work is architectural ornamentation. Paley sometimes works intuitively -- the pieces develop as they are being created. He was drawn to the immediacy of working with iron. He established a shop in New York producing his iron pieces. The shop employs numerous workers to assist Paley in the execution of numerous commissioned pieces that tend to be very large in scale. Paley exhibits his work nationally and internationally and is represented in many permanent collections. The pieces belonging to these permanent collections usually are a part of the architecture as a fence, gate, or doorway. His work is published in periodicals and several books on jewelry and metalsmithing.