Erik Magnussen Designed for Gorham 'Modern American' Art Deco Sterling Silver Centerpiece Bowl, Providence, RI, 1928
Based on 'skyscraper' designs, the round, low base on four pad feet creates a dramatic foundation for the wide, shallow bowl. The bold form is accentuated by deeply incised vertical and horizontal lines. The shapes, design, and scale are exceptional. According to a report by Sam Hough derived from the Gorham Archives, only 6 of these bowls were ever made and there's no way of knowing how many actually have survived the test of time. This important centerpiece bowl is a very rare example of American art deco silver.
Erik Magnussen was an important Danish silversmith hired by Gorham from 1925 to 29 to develop silver in the 'modern' style. During this brief period, he designed very creative 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, preferring conservative colonial-styled silver. Hence Gorham had a great deal of trouble selling Magnussen's forward-looking 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 and museums. (See Gorham Silver by Charles Carpenter.)
This rare sterling silver centerpiece bowl is marked with Gorham's trademark, 'GORHAM', 'STERLING', the model number 14063, and Magnussen's trademark. It measures 12 inches in diameter by just over 3 inches high, weighs 26.80 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.
Archival photographs of choice examples of Magnussen's work, including an example of this centerpiece (possibly this one), are included in the pictures.
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