The vegetable-shaped salt and pepper shakers and the curvilinear flask are splendid examples of the Aesthetic Movement style, which appeared strikingly new and modern to consumers at the time. The form of the shakers was inspired by realistic Japanese metal objects with which Americans were just becoming familiar, and their maker used a newly invented process to patinate the silver to resemble weathered copper. The irregular, ergonomic contour and dense Southwestern landscape of the flask would have also seemed quite daring to the original purchaser. In contrast, the all-over, hard-edged design of the later flask evokes the emerging, dynamic skyscraper skyline of big cities, and the unadorned, pyramidal forms of the later salt and pepper shakers have a timeless quality. While all of these objects were progressive when made, only the later ones still speak the language of modern design.
Sterling silver and cork
9 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 1 3/16in. (24.4 x 11.4 x 3cm)
Other (a): 9 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 1 3/16 x 7/8 in. (24.4 x 11.4 x 3 x 2.2 cm)
Other (b): 9 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 1 in. (23.5 x 11.4 x 2.5 cm)
Other: 7/8in. (2.2cm) (show scale)
Stamped on lip of opening: "NAPIER STERLING 16 OZ"
This item is not on view
Modernism Benefit Fund
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The Napier Company (1922-present). Flask, 1925-1930. Sterling silver and cork, 9 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 1 3/16in. (24.4 x 11.4 x 3cm). Brooklyn Museum, Modernism Benefit Fund, 1990.10a-b. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 1990.10a-b_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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Flask, sterling silver and cork. Trapezoidal body (a) with rounded narrow bottom widens to stepped shoulder with threaded cylindrical opening on top; threaded cap (b) telescopes into a cup of four interlocking segments. Interior of cap lined with cork. Engraved decoration of lines radiating from the lower right and lower left corners in imitation of the pattern of criss-crossing beams of light.
CONDITION: Good. Surface scratches overall. Some nicks on sides. Some minor discoloration. Cap (b) is slightly misshapen with scratches on top.
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