Modernism in American Silver

20th-Century Design

Jewel Stern; Edited by Kevin W. Tucker and Charles L. Venable

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A lavishly illustrated catalogue that is the first to explore the role of modernism in 20th- century American silver design

From teaspoons to cocktail shakers and unique objects made for New York World’s Fairs, this stunning book examines the influence of modernism upon industrially produced silverware made in the United States from 1925 to 2000. Featuring the Dallas Museum of Art’s Jewel Stern American Silver Collection— which comprises over four hundred extraordinary works in the modern idiom—as well as other objects in the Museum’s collection, and selected pieces on loan, Modernism in American Silver is the first book to study the full scope of progressive design in American silver of the twentieth century.

The book not only focuses on the works of such widely known designers as Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Tommi Parzinger, Elsa Peretti, Eliel Saarinen, Belle Kogan, and Lella and Massimo Vigelli, it also reveals the role of others largely unrecognized, among them Donald H. Colflesh, Kurt Eric Christoffersen, Helen Hughes Dulany, Robert J. King, and Elsa Tennhardt, who were instrumental in shaping silverware for a New Age.

For collectors, scholars, designers, students, and museum visitors interested in silver and design, this book is a beautiful and essential resource.

Jewel Stern is an artist, independent curator, and specialist in the history of twentieth century American silver. Kevin W. Tucker is Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art. Charles Venable is Deputy Director of Collections and Exhibitions for the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Dallas Museum of Art ( June 18 – September 24, 2006)

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee (April 22 – July 15, 2007)

The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2005 – January 22, 2006)

The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida (November 17, 2006 – March 25, 2007)

"An astonishing potpourri of silverwork. . . . Excellent reproductions."—Art Times

"Jewel Stern's lavishly beautiful book sets the record straight for the streamlined silver produced so expertly in the land of the free..."---Birmingham Post

"A lavishly illustrated catalogue that is the first to explore the role of modernism in 20th century American silver design. . . . [A] stunning book. . . . For collectors, scholars, designers, students, and museum visitors interested in silver and design, this book is a beautiful and essential resource."—Journal of Antiques and Collectibles

Appeals to seasoned collectors, dealers, silversmiths, [and] readers who have not given the medium the attention it deserves. Highly recommended.

"Recommended. . . . [A] definitive new reference."—Met Home

“An impeccable reference suitable for both classroom and library alike. . . .Stern’s text is a marvelous examination of ways modern designers (and their techniques) have expanded the industry and widened the breadth of its artistic expression. . . . Recommended to students looking to chart the changes in silver design over the last century. Also recommended to University-level libraries as a unique and one-of-a-kind reference text.”—The Electric Review

“…this comprehensive book is welcome for its scholarship and wealth of illustrations.” - Margot Coatts, Crafts Magazine

"This is the most important book available on silver of this period. It's beautifully illustrated, with information about flatware and decorative pieces by large manufacturers, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces by talented silversmiths."—Kovels on Antiques

"Modernism in American Silver is an exhibition catalog so beautifully produced and profusely illustrated that it is easy to be swept away by the illustrations and overlook the tremendous research and scholarship that it contains. . . . This book is highly recommended for libraries with a collection interest in modern and contemporary decorative arts or industrial design. It is a fascinating book that presents silver design and describes how the events of history affect the products, designs, and companies."—Karen DeWitt, Art Documentation

"In showcasing yesterday's best silver designs, Modernism in American Silver offers an invaluable guide to sound collecting."—Art & Antiques

"[The book] charts the appearance of European Modernism in American silver production and its expanding influence over the course of the twentieth century. . . . Modernism in American Silver is much more than an exhibition catalogue; it is a thoughtful and painstakingly researched work that is destined to be a key text for those who study and appreciate American silver."—John Stuart Gordon, Studies in Decorative Arts

“It is splendidly produced, with an array of high quality colour illustrations documenting every phase of American silver design, production and marketing, and will no doubt be the definitive text on the subject. Stern, a noted scholar and collector of American silver, is superbly qualified to undertake this study, and her book offers a wealth of new material and fresh insights. Indeed, Modernism in American Silver will take a place among the very best recent books on modern design in the United States.” - Christopher Long, Burlington Magazine

Winner of the Robert C. Smith Award from the Decorative Arts Society

Winner of the 2005 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award, presented by the Art Libraries Society of North America (one of three winners). 

Gold Citation for 27th Annual Mitchell A. Wilder Publication Design Competition (Texas Association of Museums)
ISBN: 9780300109276
Publication Date: October 11, 2005
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Dallas Museum of Art
392 pages, 9 x 12
31 b/w + 359 color illus.

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