H134

Erik Magnussen for Gorham Sterling Silver & Ivory Art Deco Centerpiece Bowl, Providence, 1928/29


According to the Gorham archive records, there were only 3 of these centerpiece bowls ever made. It is an exceptional example of art deco design by one of the most famous silver designers of the style working in America. The use of plain surfaces and sections with scored lines give the piece a stylish design with subtle movement. The large bowl has a flared rim and is ornamented with a horizontal line around the top and a series of 16 vertical lines down the side.

An applied, convex section at the base of the body mimics the beautiful dome base. Between these two sections is a beautiful piece of carved ivory with curved sides also defined by vertical lines. Beautiful proportions and highly reflective surface make this centerpiece bowl quite stunning.

Radiating scored lines, geometric shapes and naturalistic decoration became the hallmark of Magnussen designs at Gorham. After the Paris 'Art Deco' exhibition of 1925, Gorham sought to develop a line of silver in the 'moderne' style popular in Europe and they found an accomplished Danish silversmith, Erik Magnussen, to do so. He was given his own workforce and great leeway in designing objects.

His aesthetically forward looking pieces never sold well as the American public mainly wanted more conservative colonial styled silver. Very few of these pieces were ever made and no one knows how many were ultimately melted by Gorham. Consequently, these examples of American art deco silver are very rare and highly sought after today.

This rare sterling silver and ivory bowl is marked underneath with Erik Magnussen's 'EM.' mark, Gorham's trademark and 'GORHAM/ STERLING/14005'. It measures 9.75 inches round by 5.75 inches high, weighs 37.25 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.
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