Chalice (part of a set)
Olaf Skoogfors (American (born in Sweden), 1930–1975)
Object Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
17.8 cm (7 in.)
Medium or Technique
Cast bronze; gold plated silver interior
Not On View
The chalice, of cast bronze, is composed of a small circular foot that rises, turning inward slightly toward the bowl, and then opens outward to the rim. A raised silver-gilt cup set inside the bronze form extends above the lip, forming a smooth rim. A rock crystal set into a copper bezel is attached near the foot of the chalice.
This heavy, cast bronze chalice, with its scumbled exterior and projecting crystal, contrasts starkly with the smooth, lightweight paten. The artist’s design choices reflect the taste of the era, in which stylish interiors featured combinations of bold colors and varied textures, and middle-class homes sported long-fibered “shag” carpeting and sleek Scandinavian-style furniture. The chalice’s nubby and distressed surface relates to fiber arts, then an ascendant craft medium, and gives a nod to similar accomplishments by such abstract sculptors of the period as Theodore Roszak, Seymour Lipton, and Herbert Ferber. Olaf Skoogfors often incorporated precious stones into his abstract jewelry compositions. This ecclesiastical service marks an occasion in which the artist applied his jeweler’s aesthetic to hollowware.
This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.
Touchmarked "OLAF SKOOGFORS" in incuse letters on exterior rim of chalice.
Originally made as a commission but never sold, the chalice and paten descended to the artist’s wife, Judith Skoogfors, who made it a gift.
Gift of Judith Skoogfors
Reproduced with permission.