ONLINEJewish Immigrants in the American Antiques Trade

Top Pick November 17, 2020 Free
Italian NeoClassical style chest of drawers/dresser with wood inlay and brass pulls.
(Photo: PhilipCacka/iStock)

In the early 20th century, Jewish cabinetmakers from Eastern Europe played a pivotal role in the emerging market for antiques and their reproductions. In this talk, Briann Greenfield and Erica Lome explore the lives and careers of two immigrants, Israel Sack and Nathan Margolis, who trained together in Lithuania and became noted authorities on early American furniture. Their clients included some of the most famous collectors of their era, such as Henry Francis du Pont, J.P. Morgan and Luke Vincent Lockwood.

As an antiques dealer and cabinetmaker, respectively, Sack and Margolis exemplified a larger tradition whereby America’s oldest families depended on Jewish immigrant labor to preserve and reproduce their colonial heritage. This talk recovers their fascinating legacy and demonstrates their lasting influence on American decorative arts.

Briann Greenfield is executive director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, an innovative historic house museum that promotes vibrant discussion of Stowe’s life and work and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change. Greenfield previously served as executive director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and was formerly a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. She received her master’s in museum studies and her Ph.D. in American studies from Brown University. She has held fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Winterthur Museum. She is the author of “Out of the Attic: Inventing Antiques in Twentieth-Century New England.”

Erica Lome is the Peggy N. Gerry Curatorial Associate at the Concord Museum, sponsored by the Decorative Arts Trust. She earned her Ph.D. in history at the University of Delaware, where she wrote a dissertation titled, “Heirlooms of Tomorrow: Crafting and Consuming Colonial Reproduction Furniture, 1890-1945.” She also has a master’s in decorative arts, design history and material culture from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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