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Drawing in Space

The Direct Welding Technique

Drawing in Space

The Direct Welding Technique

“Mr. Yurman works with bronze rods, sculpting directly with the pure white heat of
an acetylene torch to create works of art that are diminutive in size but not in scope."

From a review of David’s exhibition of welded sculptures in Martha’s Vineyard, 1970

“Mr. Yurman works with bronze rods, sculpting directly with the pure white heat of an acetylene torch to create works of art that are diminutive in size but not in scope"

From a review of David’s exhibition of welded sculptures in Martha’s Vineyard, 1970

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A B O V E

Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz with David
Yurman, apprentice, in the artist’s studio,
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 1963 

Learning with the Masters

In 1958 at the age of 15, David Yurman learned
direct welding from sculptor Ernesto Gonzalez. The
technique, developed by Picasso and Julio
Gonzales, involves melting thin metal rods with an
acetylene torch to create forms that are linear yet
three-dimensional. The method was aptly described
by the sculptors as “drawing in space."

L E F T

Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz with David
Yurman, apprentice, in the artist’s studio,
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 1963

Learning with the Masters

In 1958 at the age of 15, David Yurman learned direct welding from sculptor Ernesto Gonzalez. The technique, developed by Picasso and Julio Gonzales, involves melting thin metal rods with an acetylene torch to create forms that are linear yet three-dimensional. The method was aptly described by the sculptors as "drawing in space."

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Making direct-welded sculptures
was like dreaming with my hands.

Making direct-welded sculptures
was like dreaming with my hands.

Line Takes Form

Drawing was, for David, an essential means of
expression—to this day he always carries a
moleskin sketch pad.
 

As he mastered the art of direct welding, his
drawings took form in bronze. Angels, faces
and mythical figures sprung from his torch.
Belt buckles and jewellery soon followed, the
precursors to the designs that would one day
make his name a brand.

R I G H T

David Yurman working on a commissioned sculpture in
Hans Van de Bovenkamp’s studio, Greenwich Village,
New York, c. 1968

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A B O V E 

David Yurman working on a
commissioned sculpture in Hans Van de
Bovenkamp’s studio, Greenwich Village,
New York, c. 1968

Line Takes Form

Drawing was, for David, an essential means of expression—to this day he always carries a moleskin sketch pad.

As he mastered the art of direct welding, his drawings took form in bronze. Angels, faces and mythical figures sprung from his torch. Belt buckles and jewellery soon followed, the precursors to the designs that would one day make his name a brand.

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A B O V E

David assisted artist Edward Meshekoff in
welding decorative railings on the promenade
of New York's Koch Theatre in Lincoln Centre.

A B O V E

David assisted artist Edward Meshekoff in
welding decorative railings on the promenade
of New York's Koch Theatre in Lincoln Centre.

Art for All

Traces of David's welded reveries also have a permanent home at Lincoln Centre, in the railings of the promenade in the David H. Koch Theatre, designed by Philip Johnson in the early 1960s. Edward Meshekoff, a public works artist, used David's welding skills to execute his vision for the organic, tactile balustrades.
 

Yurman incorporated some of his personal style in the work, with whimsical forms subtly wrought into the metal—little hidden Rorschach-like secrets to delight a very observant theatergoer.

Art for All

Traces of David's welded reveries also have a permanent home at Lincoln Centre, in the railings of the promenade in the David H. Koch Theatre, designed by Philip Johnson in the early 1960s. Edward Meshekoff, a public works artist, used David's welding skills to execute his vision for the organic, tactile balustrades.


Yurman incorporated some of his personal style in the work, with whimsical forms subtly wrought into the metal—little hidden Rorschach-like secrets to delight a very observant theatergoer.

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A B O V E

Detail of a direct-welded bronze belt
David made for Sybil in 1969. 

A B O V E

Detail of a direct-welded bronze belt
David made for Sybil in 1969.

Gifts for Sybil

David's direct-welded jewellery became more
minimal, showcasing the metal rods themselves.
Often with Sybil in mind, he would ask himself
Would Sybil like it? Would she wear it?
 

The first piece he created for her was a tactile chain
of welded links that she wore around her waist as a
belt, looped twice as a necklace or even multiple
times as a bracelet.

Gifts for Sybil

David's direct-welded jewellery became more minimal, showcasing the metal rods themselves. Often with Sybil in mind, he would ask himself Would Sybil like it? Would she wear it?
 

The first piece he created for her was a tactile chain of welded links that she wore around her waist as a belt, looped twice as a necklace or even multiple times as a bracelet.

“…And here we have what gives Madison
Avenue its raison d’être.”

R I G H T

The New Yorker’s Victoria Roberts
marked the opening of David Yurman’s
shop on Madison Avenue.

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A B O V E

The New Yorker’s Victoria Roberts
marked the opening of David Yurman’s
shop on Madison Avenue

“…And here we have what gives Madison
Avenue its raison d’être.” 

Inspiring Madison

The original linked belt for Sybil inspired the
DY Madison® Collection, a modern
interpretation of chain that is just as versatile
as its forerunner. It’s named for the company’s
first boutique, which opened on Madison
Avenue in 1999.

Each link, simple and pure, harks back to
David’s early welding, using metal rods to
draw lines in space.

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Inspiring Madison

The original linked belt for Sybil inspired the DY Madison®
Collection, a modern interpretation of chain that is just as versatile as
its forerunner. It’s named for the company’s first boutique, which
opened on Madison Avenue in 1999.

Each link, simple and pure, harks back to David’s early welding,
using metal rods to draw lines in space.

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The DY Madison®
Collection

Classic chain takes on new life with
contrasting materials and textures.

The DY Madison®
Collection

Classic chain takes on new life with
contrasting materials and textures.