Welcome to the Gustav Manz blog. Manz was a master goldsmith and designing jeweler whose career spanned New York's Gilded Age and Art Deco eras. We invite you to share your thoughts, and will do our best to answer specific questions about the life, work, and contemporaries of this early 20th century artist-craftsman.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
HERE BE DRAGONS...
This early Art Deco bracelet attributed to Gustav Manz was stored in a box marked Thomas Kirkpatrick & Co
Many Arts & Crafts jewelers featured a few griffins and wyverns in their design repertoires. Manz's bench produced a veritable bestiary of Gothic and Asian dragon rings, fobs, and brooches for his favorite vendors—Tiffany & Co, A.A. Vantine, F. Walter Lawrence, Shreve Crump & Low, and Thomas Kirkpatrick & Co (see previous post). More views of a magnificent figural diamond bracelet retailed by Kirpatrick, above, can be seen at 1stdibs.com.
Gothic revival ring design by Gustav Manz, circa 1900-1910
(c) Gustav Manz LLC
Manz offered a line of hand-carved griffin ornaments like the one in the drawing from his sales brochure below, and "The Dragon" line is the first mentioned in the brochure's list of motifs.
Detail from Manz brochure, circa 1910
(c) Gustav Manz LLC
A horn hair comb with a dragon topper from the same period, shown below, is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The piece is unmarked, and while the MFA speculates it may have been made by Krementz & Co., a Newark manufacturer, it also resembles Gothic creatures featured in Manz's design book.
Surf's up! This c. 1910 hair comb featuring a wave-riding wyvern must have slayed a few sailors at the Newport races Image Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Historians believe the phrase "Here Be Dragons" originated as a map warning to ships' captains. For examples of the monsters most worrisome to sailors, check out the slide show Ken Jennings produced for Slate.com last year.
Ken Jennings is the author of Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks