Arguably the most important metalworker in early-twentieth-century America, Yellin epitomized the versatile artist-craftsman celebrated by the Arts and Crafts movement. He completed a number of significant New York commissions, including one for the Equitable Trust Company, for which this screen is a prototype. His genius lay in the creation of patterns for architectural screens and grilles, which were often witty interpretations of historical metalwork styles. Here, the linked circles and abstract, spearlike forms may derive from chain mail and armaments. Fanciful animal faces line the top of the screen like gargoyles, tempering the otherwise severe iron fortification that would have separated the teller from the bank’s patrons.
The Samuel Yellin Collection, Samuel Yellin Metalworkers Company, Philadelphia, until 1994