When Modern Designs become highly sought after Antiques
inFebruary 14, 2011 - 3:17pm
A recent visit to the new wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA)was intriguing. The new displays reflect a big change in how museums present their collections and what objects need to be displayed. Perhaps the most talked about display is the painting of Paul Revere holding a silver teapot made by him. Within visual sight of the painting is the actual teapot in a glass display cabinet. My words cannot do justice to the beauty of this particular display nor describe the great delight I felt when I saw one of “my” objects on display on the next floor!
The top floor of the new wing focuses on twentieth century design. A shelf, perhaps ten feet long, contains the “American Modern” pitcher designed by Russell Wright (1907-76). The variety of colors is represented in this series of pitchers. I have included a photograph of the display which illustrates the Coral pitcher I have for sale in my shop! Wright designed this line in 1937. It was not until 1939 that Steubenville agreed to produce this radical “biomorphic undulating form.” Considered one of the most versatile designers of ceramics and consumer goods, “Wright’s creation was futuristic in both shape and color and thus appealed to the young, well-educated, urban consumer…”*
Building upon the popularity of “American Modern”, Wright designed companion table linens and upholstery fabric. The boost in manufacturing a variety of goods by other ceramics companies was a welcome development in the post-war years. Today we are still collecting the designs in ceramics, glass, and textiles based on the 40’s and 50’s “Modernism”.
To enter a museum dedicated to telling the story of art in the Americas from earliest cultures up to today, I feel overwhelmed by what I have seen. In my own small way, I feel a part of that history by owning a pitcher worthy of a museum.
In another thirty or so years it will also be considered an antique!
*C.L.Venable, China and Glass in America 1880-1980, p. 349.
Carol Bergeron owns Antiques on Canaan St on Ruby Lane http://www.rubylane.com/shop/antiquesoncanaanst
AND Home Sweet Home Collectibles on Ruby Plaza http://www.rubyplaza.com/shop/homesweethomecollectibles