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Decorative Arts

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor

The geometric grid pattern at the tops of these candlesticks suggests the influence of Viennese design, rare in American works of the period. Abstracted rectilinear designs were a hallmark of the work of Josef Hoffman (Austrian, 1870–1956), a founder and leading artist of the avant-garde Wiener Werkstatte (Vienna Workshop), a cooperative dedicated to Arts and Crafts ideals, which sought to elevate the decorative arts and make them accessible to the public. Despite the vitality of the Wiener Werkstatte in Europe, Americans had, at best, minimal exposure to Viennese design limited to exhibitions at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 and to publications such as The Studio. The Pairpoint Manufacturing Cornpany probably was more willing to experiment with different motifs in silver plate because it was a less expensive medium.

MEDIUM Silver plate
DATES ca. 1879
DIMENSIONS 5 7/8 x 1 5/16 x 7/8 in. (14.9 x 3.3 x 2.2 cm)
MARKINGS Stamped on back: "2 (Maltese Cross)" REED & BARTON"
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Joseph V. Garry
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Teaspoon, silver plate, with plain bowl. The straight sided handle flares gently to about the 1/3 point where it is notched before continuing to flare out to the crest with rounded corners and a gently domed end. The decoration between the bowl and notch consist of a vertical garland of flowers alternating with pairs of leaves against a stippled ground. Above the notch is a molded vase with large squared handles with a small flower at the lip and three identical flowers on long straight stems with symmetrical leaves and a perched bird set against the taller central stem, all against a stippled ground capped by a pointed dome that frames the tops of the flowers surmounted by a small fleur-de-lys. The balance of the handle is undecorated. The reverse has similar, but abbreviated decoration with the bird and vase eliminated. Unique Pattern. Condition: Very good. Plate is very bright. Very small plate loss on heel of bowl. Light overall scratching due to normal wear.
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