In the decorative arts, the term "transitional" is sometimes used to describe a piece which falls between two different aesthetic schools—or exhibits characteristics of both periods. Although specific decorative arts movements (and schools of fine art) appear to express a coordinated and well-unified aesthetic, in truth, it is sometimes only years later that academics and connoisseurs are able to define and label a particular school of design.
Take the Art Deco Movement for example. The movement coalesced with the Paris Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925—a "World's Fair" of sorts which showcased the day's cutting edge of design and technology. The "new look" presented at this show—modern, streamlined, progressive, fast and industrial—marked a clear aesthetic turning point in the decorative arts. But we'd be wrong to assume that Art Deco design was birthed at one particular show in one particular year. Art Deco elements and influences certainly can be found in items predating 1925. And the name, Art Deco, was not coined until some four decades after the exposition, in the 1960's. Before that, the school of design was sometimes referred to as Art Moderne.
This English pewter sugar caster was made in the Teens or Twenties. The hammered pewter body is clearly Arts & Crafts in sensibility. Yet the radiant chevrons, emerging from the base, foreshadow the Art Deco movement to come. Sugar casters were used at the table to sprinkle sugar upon fruit or porridge. In England, where sugar casters are more common, they were filled with "caster sugar"—sugar ground slightly finer than American granulated sugar. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248