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Erik Magnussen Designed for Gorham 'Modern American' Art Deco Sterling Silver Pitcher, Providence, 1928


This stunning pitcher is a very rare examples of American art deco silver. Each of the four applied feet are comprised of pad feet with a disc above incised with eight horizontal lines. The large, cylindrical body is exquisite with its lovely reflective surface which gives the piece great presence.

The triangular shaped spout protruding from the front is a striking design feature. Around the top of the pitcher is a deeply incised horizontal line and around the bottom is a repeating pattern of two squares and a long rectangle.

The Bakelite handle has flat sides with curved edges and fits into two silver collars. It is also pinned to give the handle strength.

The geometric shapes, design and scale of this pitcher are exceptional. According to a report by Sam Hough derived from the Gorham Archives, only 6 of these pitchers were ever made. One is currently in the collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Art and another is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (this one previously owned and sold by Spencer Marks).

Erik Magnussen was an important Danish silversmith hired by Gorham from 1926 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 pitcher is marked with Gorham's trademark, 'GORHAM', 'STERLING', the model number 14058 and Magnussen's trademark. It measures 10.25 across the handle and spout by just under 8.5 inches high to the top of the handle. It weighs 40.30 troy ounces and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.
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