Erik Magnussen for Gorham 'Modern American' Sterling Silver Candle Sticks, Providence, RI, c. 1928
These stunning candle sticks are rare examples of American art deco silver. Based on 'skyscraper' designs, the round, stepped bases on four pad feet create a dramatic foundation for the towering columns surmounted by a goblet-shaped capitals with removable bobeches. Bold form is accentuated by deeply incised vertical and horizontal lines. The shapes, design and scale are exquisite. Not only are all these elements important to great design, but the reflection of the plain surfaces and the simplicity of the decoration enhance these wonderful objects.
Erik Magnussen was a well-known Danish silversmith who went to work for Gorham from 1925-29. During this brief period he designed very imaginative and beautiful silver. He developed the Modern American line in 1928. When Gorham was marketing this line of silver, the American market was not ready for it and Gorham had a great deal of trouble selling Magnussen designed silver. As the great depression took hold, Gorham reduced retail prices and still did not sell much of Magnussen's silver. It is generally believed that much of Magnussen's silver was eventually destroyed by Gorham. It is for these reasons that today American Art Deco silver is extremely rare, very much appreciated and highly sought after by collectors. (See Gorham Silver by Charles Carpenter.)
According to a report by Samuel Hough, an independent researcher working with the Gorham Archives, only 24 pair of these candlesticks were ever made!
These rare candle sticks are marked underneath with Gorham's trademark along with 'GORHAM/ STERLING/ 14067' and 'CEMENT LOADED' meaning the bases are filled to give them weight and greater stability. They also bear Erik Magnussen's trademark. They measure 12.5 inches high and are in very good antique condition with replaced bobeches.