Published: April 10, 2012
From May 4 through September 2, the New-York Historical Society will present “Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York,” an exhibition highlighting the histories of 150 notable examples of silver from its collection. Linked to significant moments in the history of New York and the United States, the remarkable objects in the exhibition range from domestic family heirlooms to acknowledged touchstones in the evolution of American silversmithing.
The diversity of stories speak to themes that include individual accomplishment, family pride, silver consumption patterns, technological progress and innovation, rituals of presentation and the commemoration of great events in peace and war.
These compelling objects are interpreted within a cultural context, focusing on the men and women that made, used and treasured them. Featured objects span four centuries, from a Dutch silver beaker made for a member of the Van Rensselaer family in 1598 to a Hanukkah lamp crafted in a Bronx, N.Y., workshop in 1999. The exhibition will be enriched by a selection of paintings, prints, photographs, manuscripts, furniture and other items that illuminate the silver, bring to life the individuals who acquired it and illustrate the physical context in which it was used.
The exhibition comprises seven sections.
“Converging Cultures in Colonial New York” explores how immigrant silversmiths, along with silver brought by émigrés from their native countries, influenced New York’s vibrant craft community. Highlights include the silver seal of Peter Stuyvesant and pieces made by New York’s first Jewish silversmith, Myer Myers.
“From Craft to Industry” examines the shifts in practices †from the small shop tradition to partial outsourcing of work and finally to industrialized production, including silver plating †that characterized the development of American silver between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries.
Additional sections are “Honoring Achievement,” “Rites of Passage,” “Drinking in Style, “The Rituals of Tea and Coffee” and “Elegant Dining.”
The New-York Historical Society is at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (West 77th Street). For information, www.nyhistory.org or 212-873-3400.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm