Peer Smed (born Peer Schmidt) was born in 1878 in Copenhagen, the son of a blacksmith. He became an expert metalcrafter and produced objects somewhat in the Jensen style but with characteristic touches that clearly marked them as his. Smed designed household pieces for the royal families of Denmark and Sweden, who awarded him medals for artistry.
In 1909 Smed emigrated to the United States where he started his own art studio at 176 Johnson St., in Brooklyn, NY. Smed worked there for the rest of his life, creating handmade objects in a variety of different metals. His obituary spoke of his honors “as a gold carver, a silversmith and as a designer of iron grilles.” He was also proficient in copper and bronze.
During his lifetime, he exhibited his work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and galleries in New York and San Francisco. Smed produced the elaborate doors designed by William Zorach for the entrance to the Schwarzenbach Building in New York City, and created silver designs for Tiffany and Company. He fashioned decorative iron work for several New York restaurants, as well as designs for the homes of Lucius M. Boomer, former managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and William Knudsen, CEO of General Motors. In conjunction with the well-known designer William Stark, he created the flatware and holloware for the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1932. His work is currently held in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago as well as several private galleries and collections around the country.
Excerpt taken from Chicago Silver.