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Author Topic:   Emil Kronquist: Metalcraft and Jewelry 1926
Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-14-2004 11:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-1916]

I am not sure if book reviews are considered appropriate for this forum. Today at RoseBowl I found a copy of Emil Kronquist's 'Metal Craft and Jewelry'. The edition is dated 1926; the inner leaf indicates this was a gift in 1945. The book is a guide to metal work, published by The Manual Arts Press, Peoria IL. According to what little data is given, Kronquist was an instructor in metal working at Stout Institute, Menomonie WI. Previously he had taught at Milwaukee State Normal School and the Washington High School Milwaukee.

What makes this interesting, to me at least, is that he addresses several points we have looked at in this forum.

First, Kronquist is a Scandanavian name, most likely Swedish. In modern Swedish quist is spelled 'kvist'. It means 'branch'. Thus, Nykvist is new branch; Bloomquist is 'flower branch'. In Immigrant Swedish it is spelled 'quist', which seems to be a particularly Swedish American usage.

In a previous thread, I maintained that there can be found pieces that look for all the world like Scandinavian silver, but which were actually made in the US by immigrant smiths. What this book shows are examples of work by the author which look very European to my eye.

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 11-14-2004 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The second point this book makes is the unity of metal work. Kronquist starts the student off making jewelry. Later he moves into holloware. His example is that making a small tray is very much like making a really big brooch.

Third, he does not assume that the student will always work in any one metal. His system teaches the ability to produce items in copper, brass, bronze or silver. Gold too, but he wisely figures almost no one will pay for a gold bread tray.

Fourth, Kronquist sets forth a way of doing metal work that is very elastic. His examples go from rings, brooches to bread tray and silver goblets to lamp shades and hardware. Everything metal is covered. The actual medium is not important: it is the mastery of technique that counts.

Fifth, once the student has that mastery, he is a SMITH. Not a silversmith or coppersmith or brassmith or bronzesmith.

[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 11-14-2004).]

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 11-14-2004 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sixth point my rather cursorary reading brings me to is that marking is not important to him. I have not found anything about how to mark pieces as one's own product. Those marks which so fascinate the posters here just do not seem to be a major concern of Kronquist.

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Patrick Vyvyan

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iconnumber posted 11-15-2004 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems Emil Kronquist, along with Frank Lloyd Wright, was a pioneer of the forerunners to the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council, which began in 1916 with the Wisconsin Society of Applied Arts (1916-1936). It was in 1937 that the society adopted the title Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen, and in 1982 became the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council. Here's a short history
quote:
A RICH HISTORY

The Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council was established in 1916 under the name of the Wisconsin Society of Applied Arts (1916-1936). It was in 1937 that the society adopted the title Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen, and in 1982 became the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council.

The objectives of this statewide organization were to keep artists informed about the national crafts scene, to provide a vehicle for exhibiting and marketing their work, and to hold meetings with educational components. According to a Milwaukee Sentinel article (September 1916), "New Art Society Is Launched Here," the objectives of the group were "to promote fellowship among the designer craftsmen of Wisconsin; to raise the standards of beauty into objects in common use; to encourage designer and worker into a mutual relationship; and to further and support all branches of applied arts produced in the state."

The Milwaukee Art Institute was the home of the new society and the first annual exhibit was held from November 21-December 11, 1916. Annual shows continued there until 1957, and then were moved to the Milwaukee Art Center until 1974. During this time, annual exhibits also traveled throughout the state.

In the early years, the range of craft work included metal, textiles, basketry, bookbinding, leather, pottery, porcelain, stained glass, illumination and book plates, designs for costumes, floor and wall coverings, architecture, and landscape gardening. Annual exhibitions became a major vehicle for artists to have their work seen by their peers and to be reviewed by prestigious jurors. Opening receptions were outstanding social events that attracted large audiences.

In 1961, the annual exhibit was selected by the Smithsonian Institution as a touring exhibition. In 1962, David Campbell, President of the American Crafts Council and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Craft, New York City, juried the annual show. He commented that the work of Wisconsin craftsmen rated well above average in the national picture. In 1965, the largest WDC craft show held at the Milwaukee Art Center consisted of 354 works by 149 artists.

As the growing collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum created more demands for exhibition space, new spaces were sought. Since 1974, the annual exhibitions have been held at prestigious museums and galleries throughout the state.

WDCC has made significant contributions to the development of 20th century American crafts. Numerous Wisconsin craft artists who were affiliated with the organization in its developing years and up through present day have become nationally known. Today, the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council boasts over 400 members statewide. Media represented include ceramics, fiber, enamel, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, photography, wood, sculpture, handmade paper, and mixed media. The annual exhibition continues, along with a variety of other special events held during the year, including the annual Morning Glory Craft Fair at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee, Wis. Various educational programs, workshops, and seminars keep members abreast of developing craft trends and connected to their colleagues. An enthusiastic Board of Directors meets bi-monthly to carry on this important legacy of maintaining excellence in fine craft work. WDCC raises public awareness and knowledge of Wisconsin's strong crafts tradition by making accessible the best in contemporary and traditional crafts, and by educating the public to the value of crafts in today's society.



His metalworking philosophy and technique sounds fascinating!

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 11-15-2004 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This book has always been an inspiration for all the years I have been working in metal. I have an autographed copy as well as reading copies. He was an exeptional smith and jeweler. It is illustrated with fabulous images of some of the Gorham silversmiths and the work of the artist and his students. Highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in technique and design.

Fred

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 11-15-2004 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Googling, I find that while Kronquist's books are in great demand there is very little information on the man himself. This strikes me as odd. Where did he train, who taught him, where did he nuture and develop his mastery? Usually there is a little biography on authors, but I couldn't find one for Kronquist.

There is a geneology for the Kronquists of Milwaukee query. It is from someone who shows Emil Kronquist as her great grandfather. The dates given are Nov 11 1882 to Nov 11 1972.

These dates seem to fit with the books. What I found intriguing is that the great grandaughter does not know a spouse for him. His father is given as Per Erik, again no spouse. Her grandfather was born in 1907, which again fits the time frame for the books.

If this is the same Emil Kronquist as the author there is now a little information. It is possible he trained in Sweden and emigrated to the US. Or that he was born in the US. Where he obtained his training seems like the interesting issue here.

I will do a little more searching on this issue as it seems very pertenant to looking at his work. It does strike me that there might be people still active who knew him. Would that include anyone here?

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 11-15-2004 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A particular wonderfull set of illustrations are by the Chicago craftsman George H. Trautman.

The two other books authored or coauthored by Kronquist mention that he work for a famous Danish silver house before heading the Art Metal Dept. in Milwaukee Vocational School. A pin on page 46 shows a definite influence by Jensen. There is another photo pn page 92 with articles made by Oscar Kronquist. Two of the images could have easily come out of a Jensen catalogue. I supect that Emil's training and sensibilities were honed in Denmark at Jensens.

Fred

[This message has been edited by FredZ (edited 11-16-2004).]

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 11-15-2004 11:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Fred for this information. All the Kronquists I could find via google were Swedes or Swede Finns. Danish training though would explain a lot. Then the question becomes how he ended up in Milwaukee, of all places, teaching in a Normal School.

The next question I would have would be what is specifically Danish in his silver work and what is American.

Finally, I still wonder about how he marked things. Does anyone know?

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 11-16-2004 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jensen began in 1905 according to the sources I consulted. Kronquist would have been 23 years old then. And probably a master craftsman. So, it could have been another Danish silver house.

[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 11-16-2004).]

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 11-16-2004 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale,

What you say makes sense and it probably was another Danish silver manufacturer.

Kronquist was Swedish born and received his apprenticeship in Denmark. That information was gleaned from a 1942 publication authored by Kronquist.

Fred

[This message has been edited by FredZ (edited 11-16-2004).]

[This message has been edited by FredZ (edited 11-16-2004).]

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 06-04-2016 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great deal more has been found concerning the life and work of Emil Kronquist. Taken from a website of a school where he taught and that has a wonderful collection of his work given to them by Kronquist.

"Thousands of instructors have walked the halls of Milwaukee Area Technical College since its founding nearly a century ago. While they all shaped the careers and touched the lives of their students, there is very little tangible evidence left of the work of the earliest instructors. Emil F. Kronquist is the exception to that rule. His intricate silver and bronze work lives on in the hallways, President's Office, Distric Board Room and a jewelry-making classroom, all in the Main Building at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus.

Kronquist, a successful silversmith in Europe, began teaching mechanical drawing and art metal classes at Milwaukee Continuation School in 1913. Milwaukee Continuation School was MATC's earliest incarnation, which was founded in 1912. Kronquist continued to teach at MATC until he retired in 1951.

He was born in Sweden in 1882 and grew up in Denmark. As a young man, he worked as an apprentice silversmith and metal chaser in the same shop with Georg Jensen, an artisan who would later become famous in Europe. Jensen has been described as "the Tiffany of silver."

After serving five years as an apprentice in Copenhagen, Kronquist submitted a vase as an entrance piece to the local guild and won a $300 stipend. He then worked in London for a time. Legend has it that he traveled to the U.S. in 1904 because he was entranced with advertising for the World's Fair hosted in St. Louis. He remained in the U.S. for the rest of his career. Kronquist worked for a jeweler in Chicago for a several years, and in 1907 was asked to set up a "manual training department" at the schools in Guthrie, Oklahoma Schools. Two years later, he set up a similar department at Northeastern State Normal College in Tahlequah, Okla."

I have an image of Konquist that I can post once it arrives.

Fred

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 06-04-2016 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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