E. & D. Kinsey toast rack
Cincinnati Silver 1788-1940 is a sterling example of how an art exhibition can be about local history while still assuring the displayed objects are worthy of our long, concentrated gaze.
Indeed, Cincinnati Silver — at Cincinnati Art Museum through Sept. 7 — stresses that the 150-200 objects, primarily silverware, are more than just precious metal.
They are immaculately gorgeous, imaginative works of fine design. It’s quite an accomplishment for this show to do that, especially when you consider that what’s on display includes, for example, something as odd as a pickle caster.
Cincinnati was a center for the design, creation and sale of silver dining utensils — especially flatware but also fine-dining specialties like butter dishes, tureens, mugs — yes, even pickle casters. One firm in particular, Duhme & Co., lasted in various permutations for 80 years (1843 to about 1928) and had a downtown showroom that — on the basis of a reproduction of a drawing — looks like a world’s fair exhibition hall.