Danish Immigrant Museum Announces New Exhibition
August 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson
Opening August 6, The Danish Immigrant Museum will feature “Silverwork by Yngve Olsson” in its Danish-American Artist Series. Olsson was a Danish immigrant who spent his career in Chicago at the Kalo Shop. He arrived in the US in 1918, and enlisted in the army for the end of World War I. By 1920 Olsson was working at the Kalo Shop, where he worked for another 50 years until his death in 1970.
The Kalo Shop was founded by a woman named Clara Barck Welles. She had studied decorative design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. When she finished her degree in the year
1900, she found that it was difficult for a woman to be hired by a manufacturing shop – so she started her own. She hired other women as designers, and hired several immigrant craftsmen to execute the
designs in silver, copper, and other materials. The Kalo Shop specialized in jewelry and tablewares, all created under the motto, “Beautiful, Useful, and Enduring.” The design and manufacture of Kalo Shop pieces were influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which valued handwork and functional design. Pieces were all made by hand – and often the hammer marks were left on the surface to prove that fact, instead of being finished to a perfectly smooth surface.
Yngve Olsson joined the Kalo Shop around 1920, and became one of its master craftsmen. He was involved in the complete process of the shop, from design to construction to decoration. In fact, decoration was one of his specialties, especially chasing and engraving flowers, leaves, and other natural forms on the surfaces of finished pieces.
This exhibition of “Silverwork by Yngve Olsson” features jewelry pieces, coffee sets, tableware, vases, and other pieces for the home. The exhibit also features many photographs of additional pieces, taken by a nephew who has a professional photography studio. You will also see Yngve Olsson’s tools, design drawings, and unfinished pieces that illustrate the process of shaping and decorating silver.
This exhibition will open on Saturday, August 6, and remain open through January 8, 2012.
(Press Release from the Danish Immigrant Museum)