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Henry Petzal (attr.) Modern Sterling Silver Mirror Plateau, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, 1966

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Silver by Henry Petzal is quite rare as he made all the pieces himself by hand and limited each design to a maximum of 8. This means that each of his objects were either one-of-a-kind or at the most, eight examples exist.

This plateau was part of Henry Petzal's private collection, is pictured in his book, Henry Petzal/Silversmith and is most likely the only one made.(1) Petzal's designs are very unique and modern and the quality of his objects is exceptional.

This rare plateau is created with a heavy cast silver frame. It has a gracefully shaped wavy edge with six bold decorations. The handles at the ends rise upwards.

Henry Petzal was a businessman who 'rose through the ranks to become a textile executive. In 1963, age fifty-seven... he resigned and committed his life to a new career (silversmith).'(2) Petzal studied at the Craft Students League in New York City under the instruction of silversmiths Rudi Schumacher and William Seitz.(3)

Fifteen examples of Petzal's work is represented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 'In 1979, the Museum exhibited my work in a case right across the aisle from the Paul Revere bowl... At the opening reception Jonathan Fairbanks (Curator of American Decorative Arts) called these pieces "a major acquisition for the Museum"'.(4)

This rare and stunning plateau is unmarked. It is identified and pictured in his book and came from his estate. It measures 18.75 inches long by 13.75 inches deep by 1.75 inches high, weighs 66 troy ounces and is in excellent condition.

Provenance: Estate of the artist

Literature: Robert M Doty, Henry Petzal/ Silversmith

Exhibition: Henry Petzal, Currier Gallery of Art, 1987


  1. Robert M. Doty, Henry Petzal/ Silversmith, (Manchester: The Currier Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 24.
  2. Ibid, p. 4.
  3. Ibid, p. 7.
  4. Ibid, p. 12.