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Salt Shaker

Decorative Arts

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.
MEDIUM Silverplate
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES Patented 1928
    DIMENSIONS 4 5/8 x 2 5/8 x 2 3/8 in. (11.7 x 6.7 x 6 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Stamped on bottom: "E. & J. B."; lightly incised "A O [possibly ampersand] L / M"
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1999.102.1
    CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Elsa Tennhardt (American, born Germany, 1899-1980). Salt Shaker, Patented 1928. Silverplate, 4 5/8 x 2 5/8 x 2 3/8 in. (11.7 x 6.7 x 6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 1999.102.1. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE group, 1999.102.1_1999.102.2_view1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Art Deco style salt shaker of silver-plated metal, en suite with pepper shaker (1999.102.2). Tall, narrow pyramid form raised on three feet of V-shaped strip of metal at each corner. Applied decoration of low triangular band that slopes down from left to right applied to each face of pyramid along bottom edge. Holes pierced on each face at top. Round opening with screw cap in center of base. CONDITION: Good; light scratching overall and a few tiny pockmarks; one spot of discoloration on one side.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (92%)
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