North Auditorium Gallery, ground floor
Philadelphia has been an important center for American metalwork since its settlement in 1682. The founding of distinguished universities with focused programs in metals—the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in 1876 (known today as the University of the Arts) and Temple University's Tyler School of Art in 1935—made Philadelphia one of the key places to learn this timeless craft. And the establishment of Samuel Yellin's blacksmithing forge in 1909 reinforced the city's preeminence in the field of handcrafted metalwork during a time of increased mechanization. Today, Philadelphia is home to many emerging and established metalsmiths who teach, create, and exhibit their work here and elsewhere. On display in this gallery are pieces by several significant Philadelphians—Olaf Skoogfors, Stanley Lechtzin, Jan Yager, Bruce Metcalf, and Sharon Church, to name just a few—as well as recognized artists from around the country. Of special note is a necklace by Ford/Forlano, commissioned by the Museum in memory of its late director Anne d'Harnoncourt and given by the Women's Committee of the Museum. This exhibition, presented in honor of the Society of North American Goldsmiths' fortieth annual conference in May 2009, celebrates the city's rich heritage in the field of metalwork by presenting recent acquisitions of the finest examples of twentieth- and twenty-first-century hollowware, sculpture, and jewelry in the Museum's collection.
Elisabeth Agro • The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts