The impact of silver metal technology has driven the development of modern furnishings throughout the 20th century. The transformation of a chair into a sculptural statement, for example. Interior metal objects have not always been at the forefront of modern design within a multi-function. With the emphasis on warmth and comfort in the home, the scope for a wide range of metal products for this domain is not there.
The great silver workshops’ traditions continued in the 20th century, supported by patronage and the desire to offer and receive precious objects. Art Deco’s context allowed French workshops of the 1930s to rediscover the monumental and majestic, albeit with an angular styling that distinguished it from its organic and belle époque predecessors. After WWII, silver design became less formal – mirroring society’s changes with the workshops of Georg Jensen in Denmark at the forefront of this movement towards a more amorphic range of shapes and forms.
The other great theme in 20th-century design has been the streamlined aesthetic of machine-age production. This has been used to root products in a Functionalist tradition that embraces modern life’s speed and efficiencies. These products are generally full of contradictions – static objects made to look faster, a streamlined fridge, for example, but they are all the more interesting for that.
This period’s sculptural traditions were probably at their height in the 1930s when the combination of contemporary styling and taste allowed many fine commissions. The monumental quality of this work, even in miniature, has tended to make it very much of its time. The most enduringly popular sculptural objects remain those of dancing girls and animals.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3D28Js2
Rennie, P. (2003). Miller’s 20th-century design buyer’s guide. Miller’s. https://amzn.to/3rhh8pe
More on Silversmiths
You may also be interested in
Derby Silver Company an American Silversmith
Derby Silver Company was an American silversmith located in Derby, Connecticut. It was founded in 1873 and specialised in silverplated hollow-ware. U.S. Patent No. 15,642, June 26, 1888, registered by Watson J. Miller and Henry Berry for M & B sterling trademark for forks, spoons, tea sets, brushes, mirrors and pitchers.
10 pieces of Jewellery in the Art Nouveau Style – Encyclopedia of Design
Art Nouveau was an international style of design and architecture. Idiosyncratic and romantic the Art Nouveau style derived from the vestiges of academic classicism of the École des Beauz-Arts, Paris and the study of plant forms. Between 1880 and 1910, the Art Nouveau movement was influential throughout Europe and to a lesser degree in the United States.
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.