These two objects were probably parts of elaborate dressing table sets that included a handheld brush, mirror, combs, small boxes, and other accessories. When the hairbrush was made, the French Art Nouveau style was new and considered avant-garde. The dense, curvilinear floral design and the female head with long, curling tresses are characteristic of that style. A generation later, this taste for curvilinear naturalism was supplanted by the French Art Moderne (or Art Deco) style of the hand mirror. Here, nature is still invoked in the decoration, but it is rendered in a more schematic, hard-edged manner that appears more modern today.
2 x 4 x 9 in. (5.1 x 10.2 x 22.9 cm) (show scale)
Marked on side of body: "STERLING"
This item is not on view
H. Randolph Lever Fund
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American. Hair Brush, ca. 1900. Silver, 2 x 4 x 9 in. (5.1 x 10.2 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 67.23. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.23_bw.jpg)
overall, 67.23_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Silver hair brush with bristles and beech backing; Art Nouveau style. Oval body with bristles raking out at considerable angle; handle with narrow neck; expands into modified tear-drop shape. Repoussé design on top of brush consists of woman's head surmounting a triangular panel outlined by zigzag lines; surrounded by realistic flowers. There are also flowers in the woman's hair; these flowers continue with repoussé lines down the neck of the brush and into the handle.
CONDITION: Minor break on edges of silver on top, about 5 inches from end of handle.
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