A comprehensive look at Martelé silver from its inception in 1897 to the 1950s
The Martelé line of handwrought silver produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company is justly regarded as a major expression of the Art Nouveau style in America. Officially introduced at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, Martelé silver was widely admired and was awarded a Grand Prix and many other medals.
This sumptuous catalog features nearly three hundred Martelé masterpieces in the collection of Jolie and Robert Shelton.
The Gorham Company grew from a small jewelry manufactory, founded by Jabez Gorham (1792-1869) in Provi-dence, Rhode Island, into the world's largest producer of sterling silver wares. So successful was Gorham in the closing years of the nineteenth century that he could devote considerable time, money, and expertise to creating an art hollowware produced entirely by hand. This new work, a departure from Gorham's machine-made commercial flatware and hollowware, was named Martelé, from the French verb marteler, "to hammer."
After winning much critical and popular acclaim, Gorham produced silver for the bicycle and motorcar magnate Albert A. Pope, publisher William Randolph Hearst, oil tycoon Harry Ford Sinclair, financier Charles Schwab, and cosmetics empress Helena Rubinstein.
Since the 1950s the resurgence of interest in Art Nouveau has steadily escalated. Martelé silver has emerged as one of the most significant American achievements in that complex and diverse style. This exquisite volume chronicles both the development of the Martelé line and the assembling of the most significant collection of Martelé silver yet formed. Providing a rich visual record of the dazzling accomplishment in American silver, the collection of Jolie and Robert Shelton covers the history of this celebrated silver from historical and aesthetic viewpoints.
John Webster Keefe is the RosaMary Foundation Curator of the Decorative Arts at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Samuel J. Hough, a distinguished antiquarian bookseller at The Owl at the Bridge in Cranston, Rhode Island, is credited with saving the Gorham archives and preserving them at the John Hay Library of Brown University.
520 pp., 177 full-color plates, 11 b&w photographs