Henry Petzal Modern Sterling Silver Covered Dish, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, c. 1965
Naturalistic gilt silver leaves with a central conical handle are striking against the plain surfaces. The leaves are textures with irregular hammering and chased veins. The bowl has an undecorated cover that relies on the graceful shape of the dome and the upturned perimeter, the bold knob handle, and the reflective surface for its beauty.
Silver by Henry Petzal is quite rare as all the pieces are hand raised, and each design is limited in number to a maximum of eight. This means that each of his objects was either one-of-a-kind or at the most, eight. One of these is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see here.
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/ HANDWROUGHT.' It measures 6.25 inches in diameter by 3.5 inches high, weighs 18.60 troy ounces and is in excellent condition.
Robert M. Doty, Henry Petzal/ Silversmith, (Manchester: The Currier Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 4.