Eliel Saarinen (American (born Finland), Rantasalmi 1873–1950 Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)
International Silver Company, Wilcox Silver Plate Company Division (Meriden, Connecticut)
Electro-plated nickel silver
6 3/4 x 6 x 3 7/8 in. (17.1 x 15.2 x 9.8 cm)
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Saarinen Swanson and John C. Waddell Gifts, and Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, by exchange, 1999
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 903
An internationally renowned architect and designer, Saarinen immigrated to America in 1923 and settled in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1925. He designed this prototype in the early 1930s for use in his Michigan home. The sophisticated design relies on geometric forms, with fine proportions offsetting austere decoration. Saarinen insisted on brass plating for his personal pieces because the color appears warm, while the International Silver Company produced a limited commercial run of the design in less expensive, cooler-looking silver plate.
Inscription: (underside, scratched): 31190
Mr. and Mrs. Eliel Saarinen, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (until his d. 1950); Mrs. Eliel Saarinen, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (1950–d. 1968); her grandson, Ronald Saarinen Swanson, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (1968–98; to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions of Twentieth-Century Design and Architecture," June 29–November 14, 1999, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 16, 2000–January 7, extended to February 4, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 106).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.
J. Stewart Johnson in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 1998–1999." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Fall 1999), p. 63, ill.