Robert Lee Morris is a jewelry designer and sculptor who attributes much of his inspiration to forms he admires in nature. His designs have been made in gold, silver and bronze and he is known for his 24 carat matte gold plating and rich deep red copper and green patina. He is an acknowledged leader of the art jewelry movement. He has collaborated or designed collections for fashion designers Kansai Yamamoto, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors and Donna Karan.
He was born in Nuremberg, Germany, where his parents were stationed after the end of World War II. His father was in the US Air Force. They were also stationed in Japan when he was nine for 4 years and later in Brazil. He graduated from Beloit College with honors in 1969.
Morris was discovered in 1971 by New York gallery owner Joan Sonnabend and first exhibited at her art jewelry outpost in the Plaza Hotel called Sculpture to Wear. Shortly after the closing of Sculpture to Wear in 1977, he opened the first edition of Artwear Gallery at 28 East 74th Street on the Upper East Side, near the couture district on Madison Avenue. Artwear relocated to SoHo in August 1978 where it would be appropriatley surrounded by contemporary art galleries. A few years later a second, larger location opened nearby quickly followed by another on Madison Avenue in what is now the Sony building. A location on Königsallee in Düsseldorf, Germany was short-lived. Morris closed Artwear in 1995 and the RLM Robert Lee Morris Gallery opened in September 1995 at 400 West Broadway, focusing exclusively on Morris's own work.
His career initially took off after he appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1976. Vogue featured his work over a period of seven years in 49 consecutive issues.
Known primarily for his high profile collaborations with leading fashion designers, especially Geoffrey Beene, Karl Lagerfeld, Kansai Yamamoto, Calvin Klein, Ann Klein, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan, Morris recently designed Karan's new perfume bottle "Gold" for Estée Lauder.
In 2007, Robert Lee Morris was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He won the Coty Award in 1981 for his collection for Calvin Klein. He has received two other CFDA awards for accessory design, in 1985 and 1994. Robert Lee Morris developed a jewelry collection for Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s clothing line, Elizabeth & James. He has a presence on QVC television, selling RLM Studio, designed exclusively for QVC. In 2011, Manhattan-based, Haskell Jewels, LLC announced its acquisition of Robert Lee Morris.
Robert Lee Morris continues to define the essence of American jewelry design, imbuing intense creativity into his collections season after season. His work captures the culture and perspective of our time, transcending him from designer to artist at its purest form. Robert Lee Morris launched his Soho line at national department stores in September 2012. His higher end Collection line, launched in September 2012 at fine retailers nationwide, which fuses past and future and reflects the ever-evolving spirit of an iconic artist. The Collection launched with Robert’s first national ad campaign in a variety of American fashion magazines, including Vogue, W Magazine and ELLE.
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Famous quotes containing the words morris and/or lee:
“The white dominant culture seemed to think that once the Indians were off the reservations, theyd eventually become like everybody else. But they arent like everybody else. When the Indianness is drummed out of them, they are turned into hopeless drunks on skid row.”
—Elizabeth Morris (b. c. 1933)
“Woodlands, meadows,streams and rivers
Blind to all of it all my life long.
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,”
—Edgar Lee Masters (18691950)