Centerpiece

MAKER:
Manufacturer

Tiffany and Company ( American, 1837 )


Designer

Oscar Riedener ( American, 1910 - 2000 )


Maker

Karl A. Danielson

DATE:
1949
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General Description

Intended to hold flowers and candles, these pieces are exceptional examples of post-World War II American silver. The bold silhouettes, slick surfaces, and use of stylized natural elements such as pinecones are characteristic of avant-garde work from this period, especially Scandinavian pieces. In the United States, however, such overt modernism was rare. During the 1940s and 1950s, most of Tiffany's commercial production was in the colonial revival style, which drew inspiration from eighteenth-century silverware. Because this design is so radically different, one must conclude that it was either ordered by a customer who appreciated modern design, or else was created by the firm to demonstrate that it could produce work as stylistically advanced as its European rivals. It is even possible that the centerpiece and candelabra were created for display at an exhibition. In 1939 Tiffany & Co. had shown a related set in its display at the New York World's Fair. This set was extremely expensive to produce because of the enormous amount of hand labor involved. Not including work by other individuals, the silversmith Karl A. Danielson, who worked for Tiffany between 1909 and 1950, labored seven hundred hours on the pieces. Consequently the set cost the firm $3,900 to produce. The retail price thus was set at the then-huge sum of $7,800. "Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection," page 263