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Cup (Austria)

This is a cup. It is dated 1930–35 and we acquired it in 1967. Its medium is nickel-plated brass, wood. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This tea service was designed in a thoroughly modernist style. Forms have been radically simplified to their stark geometric essence. The pieces have no applied ornament, adhering to the principle of “form follows function”, one of the central tenets of modernist industrial design. Following the First World War, new economic and social conditions made heavily-ornamented luxury goods unsuitable for many people. Made from nickel-plated copper, this cup could be manufactured at a minimal cost — a crucial factor in the deflated European post-war market. The gleaming undecorated surface possesses a machine-like aesthetic that lends itself to industrial manufacturing. The modernist style was truly international in scope; metalworkers throughout the world produced table wares in this reductive mode. This design has stylistic affinities with the German designers Marianne Brandt and Karl Heubler, the French designers M. Desnet and René Nauny, and the American designers Ilonka Karasz and Jean George Theobald.

It is credited Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Gilbert.

  • Ciga Glass
  • glass.
  • Gift of Lella and Massimo Vignelli.
  • 1985-54-9
  • Border (USA)
  • machine-printed.
  • Gift of Scalamandre.
  • 1990-84-80

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 4.4 x 9.8 x 8.2 cm (1 3/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 in.)

It has the following markings

"Austria" marked on saucers, sugar bowl, creamer, pot, and plates.

Cite this object as

Cup (Austria); nickel-plated brass, wood; H x W x D: 4.4 x 9.8 x 8.2 cm (1 3/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 in.); Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Gilbert; 1967-85-4-a

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Ellen DeGeneres Selects.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Cup (Austria) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>