Pitcher

Designed by Kay Fisker, Danish, 1893 - 1965. Made by A. Michelsen Silversmiths, Ltd., Copenhagen, 1841 - present.

Geography:
Made in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe

Date:
Designed 1927, made 1957

Medium:
Silver

Dimensions:
10 7/16 x 6 1/2 x 5 3/8 inches (26.5 x 16.5 x 13.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1972-101-3

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Albert M. Greenfield, 1972

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Additional information:
  • PublicationDesign, 1900-1940

    This pitcher, designed in 1927 by the architect Kay Fisker, was one of the earliest pieces of Danish silver to respond to the concept of functionalism as practiced at the German Bauhaus, and it was through such work, rather than architecture, that the modernist International style was most strongly realized in Denmark in the 1920s. With its simple outline and shiny surface from which all signs of handwork and decorative detail have been eliminated, the pitcher appears as if manufactured by machine although it was crafted by hand using standard techniques. The liveliness of its sophisticated profile, which was fully worked out on paper by the architect and then translated into metal by the silversmith, depends on the fluid line that unites the rounded body, flat handle, and exaggerated lip into one plastic form. Fisker's earlier designs for the jeweler and silversmith A. Michelsen were shown in Paris at the Exposition Arts Décoratifs, where the reports noted their "spirit of sobriety, selection and purity." Between 1925 and 1928 Fisker designed several groups of silver for Michelsen, and although they do not consistently reflect the same concern for spare functionalism--others are elaborated with ornamental detail or recall Oriental and eighteenth-century models--the designs were essentially independent and had considerable influence on later silverwork in Denmark. Over the next decades Michelsen continued to employ noted architects (including Denmark's most famous, Arne Jacobsen) as designers of silver tablewares, and following Fisker's lead, they were responsible for introducing innovative forms into the company's products. It was not until after 1930 that the better-known Danish firm Georg Jensen took the modern approach that Fisker and Michelsen had pioneered. Kathryn B. Hiesinger and George H. Marcus, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Design, 1900-1940 (1987), p. 34.