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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Danish, 1884 - 1961
Made at Gorham Manufacturing Company
Providence, Rhode Island
c. 1925
Sterling silver and ebony

12 x 9 ¼ inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of friends of Susan Lapin, the W. A. and Madeline Smith
Charitable Trust, Jeffrey A. Shankman, Sue Rowan Pittman
in memory of Mary Lynch Kurtz, with additional gifts from
various donors in memory of Marian Thompson Deininger

Arts of Europe

The designs by Danish silversmith Erik Magnussen for Gorham Manufacturing Company have long been recognized as some of the most elegant and accomplished metalwork objects made in America during the Art Deco period. His work is of the utmost quality in both craftsmanship and design, and his forms clearly evoke the many influences of American Art Deco in their shape, ornament, and style. Magnussen trained as a silversmith in Denmark and was part of the same circle of craftsmen as Georg Jensen. Magnussen was hired by Gorham in 1925 to produce silver in the new modern styles. For the next four years, Magnussen created designs that reflected the influence of the Art Deco style, the American city, and his own classical Danish heritage.

This centerpiece is particularly noteworthy for its size, elegant lines and proportion, luxuriousness of materials, and modern styling. As seen here, Magnussen often incorporated ivory, semiprecious stones, or exotic woods into his designs.