Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design , a groundbreaking exhibition that explores the aesthetic richness and cultural significance of modern silver design in America will serve as a major contribution to decorative arts scholarship and as a touchstone for future projects in the field.Modernism in American Silver will feature more than 200 magnificent works that explore the creative development of the American silver industry’s creative forays into modernist design between 1925 and 2000.
“This is the first major exhibition to examine modernism’s transformation of the definition of progressive silver design from the late 1920s through the end of the century,” said Kevin W. Tucker, Dallas Museum of Art project director, co-curator, and The Margaret B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design of the Dallas Museum of Art. “Including the work of noted designers, as well as a host of heretofore little-known participants within the industry, the exhibition examines the significance of a largely dismissed era in manufactured silver and logically extends the Dallas Museum of Art’s previous scholarly efforts in the field of American silver.”
The primary goal of Modernism in American Silver is to chart the stylistic design history of modern American production silver. The exhibition will also explore economic and cultural factors that influenced silver design, manufacture and marketing across more than seven decades and seven major thematic areas:
- The Modernist Impulse: Art Moderne
- The Machine Age: Streamline Design
- Modern Classicism
- Naturalism: Scandinavian Influences
- A New Look: Free Form and the 1950s
- Future Dreams: The Space Age
- The Boutique: Architects and Fashion Designers
The exhibition includes the works of widely recognized designers such as Eliel Saarinen, Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, Elsa Peretti and Richard Meier, and also will offer important revelations concerning the role of designers such as John Prip, Robert King, John Van Koert, Donald Colflesh and Tommi Parzinger, and a host of individuals whom were seldom recognized by the general public. Many of the works featured in the exhibition are from the Dallas Museum of Art’s Jewel Stern American Silver Collection, the world’s most significant collection of modern American silver.
In addition to the exhibition, a book of the same title will thoroughly catalogue the works and serve as an immensely important resource on American silver—more extensive than any other of its kind currently available. Beginning in the 1920s with the growing fascination in progressive European works, Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design will detail all aspects of the American silver industry’s efforts to capture the market for modern design, resulting in a richer understanding of the transformation of the American silver industry and its explorations of various movements and styles. Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design, published by Yale University Press, will be approximately 350 pages in length and heavily illustrated in color.
Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Publication of the exhibition catalogue was underwritten by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation with additional support from Babcock Gifts, Mednikow, and Honey and Rudi Scheidt.