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. This example came from his private collection.
The bowl has an undecorated cover which relies on the graceful shape of the dome, the bold knob handle and the reflective surface for its beauty. The body has large repoussé lobes defined by deeply chased lines to create a pineapple design. Each lobe creates a bulls-eye mirror effect.
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)'.(1) Petzal studied at the Craft Students League in New York City under the instruction of silversmiths Rudi Schumacher and William Seitz.(2)
Fifteen examples of Petzal's work are represented in the collection of 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"'.3
This rare and stunning bowl is marked underneath with Henry Petzal's 'HP' trademark and 'STERLING. It measures 5.5 inches wide by 3.75 inches high, weighs 16.60 troy ounces and is in excellent condition.
Provenance: Estate of the artist
- Robert M. Doty, Henry Petzal/ Silversmith, (Manchester: The Currier Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 4.
- Ibid, p. 7.
- Ibid, p. 12.