Women and folk art and imperial silver in New York

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

So many exhibitions open in New York in any given month that it is hard to choose which ones to feature. Two that have great appeal are Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands, at the American Folk Art Museum, and Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from April 13 to November 7. The former, drawn from the Folk Art Museum’s own collection by curator Stacy C. Hollander, includes paintings, drawings, samplers, quilts, rugs, and other works, most of which were made during the years that young women spent cultivating the skills they would need as wives and mothers, but others demonstrate that women continued to nourish their creative selves by plying those skills throughout their lives.

The show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art reunites many pieces from a magnificent silver service made between about 1779 and 1782 for Duke Albert Casimir of Sachsen-Teschen and his consort, Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria. This superb ensemble was last displayed at the end of the nineteenth century and was believed to be lost, but shortly after the Metropolitan Museum acquired two wine coolers from it in 2002, many other surviving pieces were discovered in a French private collection. Made by the Austrian imperial court goldsmith Ignaz Josef Würth, the service originally comprised more than 350 items, including wine coolers, tureens, cloches, sauceboats, candelabra, candlesticks, and serving implements, as well as twenty-four dozen silver plates and pieces of porcelain-mounted silver and gold cutlery. Some 35 additional pieces, including drawings and silver from the museum’s collection will be included in the exhibition. The show was organized by Wolfram Koeppe, curator in the museum’s Department of European Sculp­ture and Decorative Arts, who also wrote the accompanying catalogue.

Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands ·American Folk Art Museum, New York · to September 12 · www.folkartmuseum.org

Vienna Circa 1780: An Im­­perial Silver Service Re­discovered · Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York · April 13 to November 7 · www.metmuseum.org

Photos: Bedcover, New England or New York, 1815–1825. Wool with wool embroidery, 100 by 84 inches. American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Virginia Esmerian.

Table set with a portion of the so-called second Sachsen-Teschen Service made by Ignaz Josef Würth (active c. 1769–1792),  Vienna, c. 1779–1782.  Private collection.