Sterling silver with gilt interior and Bakelite handle

"Modern America" pitcher, 1928

Not on Viewexpand_more

Danish-born Erik Magnussen closed his Copenhagen workshop in 1925 to join the Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island, spearheading efforts to develop modern alternatives to their repertoire of period-revival wares. Taking inspiration from Constructivism, Cubism, and the skyscraper, Magnussen created a range of elegant modernist silverware for Gorham in their attempt to compete with European manufacturers.

Of the modernists, it was Erik Magnussen who boldly combined simplified form in silver with new synthetic plastic materials such as bakelite, a revolutionary breakthrough at the time. Magnussen was one of the first to successfully balance curvilinear and geometric elements as he has in this fine pitcher, one of a series in a line called Modern America, the first examples of which were crafted by Magnussen himself. The combination of elegance and modernism was meant to appeal to discerning American consumers new to the style.

"Modern America" pitcher
Artist Life
Providence, Rhode Island, 1865–1967
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Sterling silver with gilt interior and Bakelite handle