The Art Nouveau style was very popular
during the 1890 -1910 time period and reflected a move away from the
previous Victorian art style.
(note: technically there is an accent mark over the last 'e' in
Cloisonne is a centuries old metalworking technique for relatively
small objects of high value wherein very thin silver wires are soldered
to a silver/gold surface in such a way as to create cells (cloisons).
Enamel powders are then placed in the cells and the item is heated in a
kiln until the powders turn into a liquid (different temperatures for
After the object is cooled, the surface is worked so that the cell
walls are at the same height as the enamel.
The technique was used in China, the Byzantine empire, Europe and only
to a limited extent in the USA
Today, China mass produces cloisonne items on an immense scale (with
relatively low prices) and this process is now very automated. That was
not true when these spoons were made.
This exhibit shows two particularly nice examples of art nouveau
cloisonne enamel spoons.
These spoons use sterling silver as the base metal and use sterling
silver wire to create the cloisonne design. They have also been
Both of these spoons were produced by the short lived New York
silversmithing firm of Bachrach & Freedman (1895-1900)
Notice that in some of the cells, multiple colors of enamel were used.
This is a more difficult technique and requires additional experience.
The styling of these spoons with their curvy handles and 'c' shapes is
very common to the art nouveau era.
If you are observant, the right spoon has small holes in the bowl which
made it into a strainer.
this is the back view of the spoons
As you can see there is beautiful workmanship on both sides
Visit the art nouveau spoon exhibit
Visit the art nouveau nudes spoon exhibit
Visit the cloisonne spoon exhibit
Return to the spoon exhibits index