Robert R. Jarvie American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 744

This vase exemplifies the creativity and originality that defined Chicago’s vibrant Arts and Crafts movement and embodies Jarvie’s affinity for elegant forms and subtle surface textures and tones. The stylized letters are enlivened with stippling that simultaneously contrasts and harmonizes with the rich sheen of the vase’s smooth surface, and the effect is one that is at once restrained and striking.

A gifted craftsman and inventive designer, Robert R. Jarvie came to metalsmithing later in life after working for transportation offices first in Minneapolis and later in Chicago as a bookkeeper, clerk, and ultimately Superintendent of Transportation. Although he began metalsmithing as a hobby, by 1905 Jarvie had left his municipal job to devote himself entirely to his craft, continuing in business at various Chicago locations until 1918. Both he and his wife Lillian were active in the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society, and his work enjoyed considerable acclaim. In 1903 The Craftsman published "An Appreciation of the Work of Robert Jarvie," which celebrates the "dignity" and "beauty" of his work, particularly the "graceful outlines and soft lustre of the unembellished metal."

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