Florence Koehler (American, 1861–1944)
Pearls, enamel, gold (pin only: sapphire, emeralds)
52.43.1: Overall 2 3/4 x 2 1/2 in. (7 x 6.4 cm); 52.43.2: Overall L. 14 in. (35.6 cm); 52.43.3: Overall H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne, 1952 (52.43.1-.3)
Embodying the ideals of the Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts movements, Florence Koehler worked in a variety of decorative media, including domestic interiors, china decorating, jewelry, and painting. In jewelry, as in pottery and painting, Koehler exhibited a scholar's sense of the past and a modernist's eye for the contemporary. Favoring pearls, gems, unpolished gold, and muted enamel, she derived inspiration from Renaissance designs during her extended stays in England, France, and Italy.
This suite of a brooch (or pendant), necklace, and comb was made around 1905 for Emily Crane Chadbourne, daughter of the Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane. The four-strand necklace has a gold clasp formed of green enameled leaves and a cluster of pearls. The necklace could be worn alone or with the accompanying emerald, sapphire, and pearl pendant attached to the clasp. With its four rectangular gems and alternating pearl clusters framing an oval cabochon, the brooch-pendant displays the designer's familiarity with Northern Renaissance models. Works such as this ensemble inspired the critic Roger Fry to credit Koehler in 1910 as an influential force in the "modern revival of craftsmanship."