WORKS BY COPPERSMITH
DEC. 17, 2017 - JUNE 10, 2018
Library New Acquisitions Gallery
Soren Zachariassen was born in 1867 in Vjejlev, Denmark. As a young man, he completed a 7-year indentured apprenticeship to his stepfather, Harald Theodor Kjerstrup, a coppersmith. From Kjerstrup, Zachariassen learned traditional techniques such as repairing and retinning cookware. He immigrated to Racine, Wisconsin in 1890 at the age of 23. It was there that he met his wife, Christine Marie Nicholsen, and had two children, Hans John and Eline.
In 1922, Soren’s son Hans founded the family business Artmetal Works, a company specializing in sheet metal work. In 1929, Hans purchased a new factory for the business and created a large workshop for his father in the building. It was around this time that the family name was shortened to “Zack” and the business renamed the Zack Company. After the company won the bid to make the ductwork for the Chicago Post Office, the largest sheet metal fabrication job in the United States at the time, Zachariassen left the family business to concentrate solely on his coppersmithing. His creation of handcrafted objects during this era pre-dates the Craft Revival of the metals field in the 1960s. At the time, industrially-produced works were favored over handmade goods. Soren Zachariassen continued to produce copper works in his workshop every weekday until he passed away in 1958 at the age of 90.
Zachariassen family’s continued to enjoy his work at home until they were generously donated to the Metal Museum in 2017. The works on display showcase a variety of functional forms, surface treatments and patinas, including the dark, leathery patina he invented. Zachariassen is one of many examples of artists immigrating to the United States and bringing with them global artistic traditions and techniques that contribute to the evolution of American metalcraft.