Jan de Swart hand carved Zebra wood Mystery box c. 1970
JAN DE SWART (1908-1987) Netherlands / USA
Mystery box c. 1970
Hand carved and assembled box form with a curiosity element of a large turquoise cabochon with raw hide wraps underneath the lid.
For more information see: Jan de Swart: A Day That Becomes a Lifetime, exhibition catalogue (California: Fine Arts Gallery at the San Fernando Valley State College, February 1972); Jan de Swart, Mike McGee and William G. Otton (Laguna Beach, California: Laguna Art Museum, 1986).
W: 16 1/2″ x H: 4 1/2″ x D: 5″
Constantly seeking and inventing new materials Jan de Swart was a true modernist. He was influenced by artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames, and later Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle. Although he had been creating small sculptures since his arrival in California from Holland in 1929, he had not been widely recognized until being introduced to John Entenza, publisher of Arts & Architecture magazine in 1947. Soon thereafter, he was able to create larger works and began collaborating with architects such as Whitney Smith and Victor Gruen on special commissions. His work is in the permanent collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, and the Ford Foundation. He was honored with the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Sculpture in 1965.
Jan de Swart hand carved Zebra wood Mystery box c. 1970
WILLIAM FREDERICK (1921-2012) Chicago (USA)
Unique Modernist Cocktail/Cordial drinks set
Handwrought sterling silver complete serving set comprising a pitcher with handle, six glasses/cordials with handles and an arching handled tray.
***Approximately 90 troy ounces total weight
Marks: FREDERICK, STERLING (on each piece)
Provenance: William Frederick Chicago, Private Collection Chicago, Private Collection New York
For more information on William Frederick see: Chicago Metalsmiths, Sharon S. Darling (Chicago: Chicago Historical Society, 1977)
Tray H: 5 1/2” x D: 11” x W: 14 ½”
Pitcher/Server H: 6 ¾” x W: 5 ¾” x D: 4 ½”
Glass/Cordial H: 3” x W: 2 ¾” x D: 1 3/8”
William Frederick had the unique distinction of being one of the longest practicing and successful American silversmiths of the 20th Century! Bill (as he liked to be called) studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge as well as the Rochester Institute of Technology and was drawn to the craft of silversmithing very early on in his life. He was both familiar with and inspired by the local Chicago silver shops such as Lebolt, The Randahl Shop, The TC Shop etc. and as a young man tried to get a job with Daniel Pederson at the renowned Kalo Shop, but was turned down by Pederson saying, “he would be paid only one dollar per day. Bill, however admits that he would have taken it! Befitting to the legacy of important architecture of the Midwest, Bill’s first workshop was a Frank Lloyd Wright garage! His early visits to both the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933-34 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939 further influenced his early design sensibility and cemented the role of engineering in his rational approach to working with his hands and totally handcrafting objects from flat sheets of silver. He also preferred to be known as a designer and maker of utilitarian silver; objects that can actually be used and not just displayed in glass cases. Bill was the epitome of a professional silversmith too and was generous with both his knowledge and expertise with aspiring students and other professionals throughout his 70+ years as a craftsman of beautiful silver objects. In fact, through the years as one silver shop after the next closed in the Chicago area, Bill became the repository of each one of the various workshops’ tools mentioned above eventually numbering more than 500 tools and he carefully looked after them and put them all to good use himself. Every piece of silver that Bill made was completely hand raised and handcrafted so he either featured the planishing marks or hammer tone on the surface or sometimes removed them to give a more modern machine age appeal.
According to Bill’s own recollection, his inspiration for this set was the structural and arcing shadows and forms of the Trylon and Perisphere at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He also wanted to design glasses where one’s fingers did not touch the vessel itself so he devised a separate button like detail for holding both the glasses and the handled pitcher. The Saxophone was a very popular musical instrument in many of the famous Jazz Clubs that were all the rage in gangster-land Chicago and he cleverly adapted the “button” idea from the push button keys of the instrument for the handle design of the goblets and pitcher of this set. In fact, he liked to mention to anyone that he served a shot to with the set that after a few drinks one could most certainly play a tune or two or at least begin to hear the musical notes dancing about! Bill taught silversmithing and industrial design on and off throughout his career at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well Columbia College and Loyola University and worked each and every day of his life and totally dedicated himself to the art of silversmithing. Even though Bill’s resume includes numerous awards and exhibitions he had a very unassuming demeanor and thought in the end his silver designs should speak for themselves and would ensure his legacy to future generations. William Frederick’s “One Man Show” at the Chicago historical Society was over 35 years ago and as he used to say, he is the last “dinosaur” of the great era of Chicago silversmithing. It is indeed the end of an era for Chicago Silver and one of the great 20th Century American Silversmiths, Bill Frederick died in May 2012 at the age of 90.
LUKE LIETZKE (1906-2000), USA
LIETZKE DESIGNS Mogodore, Ohio
Large floor vessel c. 1955-1960
Blue glazed stoneware cylindrical vessel which has been shaped at the top into an elliptical form; the black glazed lip is rolled over with a flaring collar-like edge and the body is decorated with an abstract incised sgraffito line decoration.
Signed on bottom: Lietzke (inscribed in oval)
H: 15″ x W: 14″ x D: 13″
Luke Lietzke studied art at Michigan State University and the Art Institute of Chicago. At Michigan State she met her husband and life-long partner in design, Rolland. They moved to Ohio when Rolland accepted a job with Goodyear Aerospace and in 1942, when Rolland took a job with Firestone, they moved to Akron, Ohio. It was there that Luke volunteered at the Akron Art Museum. This position quickly developed into a design curator’s position created especially for her. Her memorable exhibits included such notable artists as Charles Eames, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi. In 1964 she left the Museum and for a short period worked as a design coordinator. In 1966, she and her husband created their own company where she functioned as an exhibition designer, an interior design consultant and most significantly: a designer craftsman. Her porcelain pieces consistently received exhibition awards since 1948 and are included in six museum collections. Her talents would often combine to develop special projects, such as the design for the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Both her pottery and jewelry reflect her wealth of knowledge as well as her exposure to the world of International art.