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Hair Brush

Decorative Arts

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
These two objects were probably parts of elaborate dressing table sets that included a handheld brush, mirror, combs, small boxes, and other accessories. When the hairbrush was made, the French Art Nouveau style was new and considered avant-garde. The dense, curvilinear floral design and the female head with long, curling tresses are characteristic of that style. A generation later, this taste for curvilinear naturalism was supplanted by the French Art Moderne (or Art Deco) style of the hand mirror. Here, nature is still invoked in the decoration, but it is rendered in a more schematic, hard-edged manner that appears more modern today.
CULTURE American
  • Place Manufactured: United States
  • DATES ca. 1900
    DIMENSIONS 2 x 4 x 9 in. (5.1 x 10.2 x 22.9 cm)
    MARKINGS Marked on side of body: "STERLING"
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
    CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Silver hair brush with bristles and beech backing; Art Nouveau style. Oval body with bristles raking out at considerable angle; handle with narrow neck; expands into modified tear-drop shape. Repoussé design on top of brush consists of woman's head surmounting a triangular panel outlined by zigzag lines; surrounded by realistic flowers. There are also flowers in the woman's hair; these flowers continue with repoussé lines down the neck of the brush and into the handle. CONDITION: Minor break on edges of silver on top, about 5 inches from end of handle.
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