Since its founding thirty-five years ago, Decorative Arts Trust has acquired ever-more spectacular works for the museum’s permanent collection—from Medieval to Modern, from furniture to faïence. Featuring all of these gifts in glorious profusion, the exhibition will include both recent acquisitions such as a rare French Renaissance platter from the workshop of Bernard Palissy and a pair of fine New York Federal chairs, as well as old favorites such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s starkly beautiful Prairie-style chair and Tiffany & Company’s pair of elaborately decorated sterling ewers. The exhibition will also reveal DAT’s commitment to strengthening key areas of the collection. For instance its acquisitions of Southern objects boast not only regional ceramics and quilts, but exceptional examples of Tennessee and Kentucky sugar furniture. Likewise DAT has richly expanded the museum’s holdings of fine silver to include works ranging from a wonderful pitcher marked by Memphis silversmith James Merriman to an art nouveau inkstand by Gorham & Company.
Comprising over 100 splendid objects, the exhibition celebrates DAT’s enormous success in not only directly acquiring objects, but by encouraging private donations from groups and individuals.
American (possibly Baltimore, Maryland)
Cylinder-Front Desk, ca. 1815
Mahogany and mahogany veneers; pine and tulip poplar secondary; light wood inlays; brass hardware; iron structural elements; gilded bronze; mirror glass
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust 2009.5.1