Venerable French silversmithing workshop Puiforcat is to be the subject of a glorious centenary retrospective in New York, as Atelier Courbet – in conjunction with Hermès – presents Puiforcat: 100 Years of Silversmithery, on view from Wednesday November 12 to Monday January 5. The first selling show of its kind, the exhibition highlights an array of the marque’s iconic art-deco classics, as well as newer signature collections created with leading contemporary artists.
Classic pieces such as the Cambo teapot ($43,000, first picture) from 1928 and Sphere tea and coffee set ($131,000) from that same year are two excellent examples of Jean Puiforcat’s skill at combining sterling silver with precious woods, glass and stone. An orange juice pitcher ($71,000, second picture) from 1930 was inspired by the bow of a ship and features an invisible “lost hinge” system that maintains the sleek lines of the piece. A filleted sterling-silver cocktail shaker ($27,000, third picture) – complete with single shot glasses with either smooth or threaded surfaces – and a desk lamp ($42,000) from 1925 in silver and onyx are pure art-deco brilliance. Fashioned by hand and polished to a mirrored shine, each of the 2kg lamps now incorporates state-of-the art LED technology, with an onyx light diffuser and a discreet dimmer switch.
On the home accessories front, the Constellation clock ($46,400) from 1932 features a circle of 12 white marble cylinders embossed with hour digits that arc around a central stud. Updates have been made to the iconic timepiece, including a 21-day mechanical movement. Gamesmanship, meanwhile, is taken to another level in a streamlined backgammon set ($35,000, fourth picture) made of sterling silver, Macassar ebony and sycamore – inspired by Jean Puiforcat’s original art-deco chess set.
The exhibition will also see the unveiling of Fluidité, a modern line of exquisite tea and coffee pieces created in collaboration with esteemed design artist Aldo Bakker. The artist’s latest sculptural interpretation of the classic tea and coffee service features eight items: a teapot and tea cup, a coffeepot and coffee cup, spoon, sugar bowl, creamer and display tray (from $95,000). This limited-edition series – just 20 of each piece have been made – is handcrafted from sterling silver, ebony and porcelain and employs both sharp geometry and soft curvilinear forms.
Puiforcat’s aesthetic continues into the 21st century and nowhere is it more exquisitely in evidence than here.