Irena Brynner

born Vladivostok, Russia 1917-died New York City 2003
Media - portrait_image_113395.jpg - 90234
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Also known as
  • Irena F. Brynner
Vladivostok, Russia
New York, New York, United States

Irena Brynner was raised on a Russian naval base in Manchuria with her cousin, the actor Yul Brynner. After studying art in Switzerland she returned to Asia, where she learned from Chinese painters. In 1946 she and her mother left China after her father was accused of being a spy. She made jewelry to earn a living, but new friendships with West Coast studio jewelers Merry Renk and Margaret De Patta encouraged her to think of jewelry as an art form. A trip to New York introduced her to art nouveau architecture, which greatly inspired her work. Brynner was also an accomplished mezzo-soprano and spent the later part of her career in New York City.