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Attributed to Daniel Christian Fueter (w. 1754–1769)
New York, ca. 1769
H. 8-1/2"
Winterthur Museum; image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Winterthur has recently acquired a significant piece of American silver—a pitcher attributed to the Swiss-born silversmith Daniel Christian Fueter, who worked in New York from 1754 to 1769. Its handle is singular in appearance, being pierced along its length and naturalistically ornamented with acanthus leaves and a ruffled cartouche identical to French examples. The sharply defined, crisply executed, and deeply chased decoration on the pitcher’s body is virtually unique among known American eighteenth-century repousséd silver in the rococo style. Depicted are multi-tiered fountains, waterfalls, and long-leaved cattails, as well as many genus-specific and imaginary sea shells, all set within a sparkling waterscape. This ornament traces directly to images created by France’s most celebrated designer in the rococo idiom, Juste-Aurèle Meissonier (1695–1750). His work was widely influential since it captured the essence of the style better than the work of any of his contemporaries. This pitcher is a singular link between America and Paris, Europe’s major design center, during the mid-eighteenth century.

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