A new exhibition, The Finer Things: Jewelry & Accessories from the 1890s-1930s, will open at Stan Hwyet House and Gardens, Akron, OH on April 1. Stan Hwyet is the former home of F.A. Seiberling, the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The 60 room house is the seventh largest home in the United States...ahead of the White House.
The thrust of this exhibition is to display the type of jewelry that Mr. and Mrs. Sieberling might have worn in the time that they lived at Stan Hwyet. This refers to both jewelry that is appropriate in style to the time period and also of the quality that people of their social status and wealth might have purchased.
There is no jewelry that actually belonged to the Seiberlings in the Stan Hwyet collection but there are clues in photographs and receipts that are in the collection. The curator is overlaying this useful information with jewelry history knowledge of these time periods as well as with their interests and lifestyle.
For example, there are images of Mrs. Seiberling wearing a big “art style” pendant. From receipts it is known she did purchase art studio jewelry from Horace Potter of Cleveland. The fact that the Seiberlings had Samuel Yellin, the most important cast metal artist of his time fabricate the gates, door knobs and other metalwork for Stan Hwyet, indicates they were afficionados of the Arts & Crafts movement at the turn-of-the century which included art jewelry.
In addition, it is believed that Mrs. Seiberling would have known of the work of artistan/jeweler Louis Comfort Tiffany because part of a desk set by Tiffany is in the Stan Hwyet collection. Mrs. Seiberling was an artist herself and she traveled to New York where LC. Tiffany’s studios were located. He catered to a wealthy clientele.
Another example is a charming early 20th century brooch that was given to someone as an award for participating in a musical event. Mrs. Seiberling might well have been given such a piece for her participation in the music world for which she was well-known.
Wherever possible photographs of the Seiberlings will be shown near pieces of jewelry similar to what they are wearing in the photographs. On view will be a pocket watch presented to Mr. Seiberling by his employees. The photograph of his grandson as a baby pulling a pocket watch (not the same one) from his grandfather’s pocket will be shown near it.
In addition, hats, gloves, handbags, and Mrs. Seiberling’s wedding gown will be on display. Jewelry is intimately related to jewelry and it will help to give a more complete picture of the time.
The jewelry periods which will be included in the exhibition are: Late Victorian (Mrs. Seiberling would have inherited some of these pieces from her family), Edwardian, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau (all simultaneous styles circa 1900-1915), and Art Deco.
The curator of the exhibition is Elyse Zorn Karlin, co-director of The Association for the Study of Jewelry & Related Arts. The exhibition will run through October 30, 2012.