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Museum Collection Highlights
Mrs. Pierre Toussaint (ca. 1786-1851)
Watercolor on ivory
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Overall: 2 3/8 x 7 1/8 x 2 1/8 in. (6 x 18.1 x 5.4 cm)
Gift of Bernard Bernstein
Adalbert Emil Herrman Nordbrock was a New York City silversmith active during the first half of the twentieth century. Nordbrock was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1885. He settled in the New York area and lived there and in New Jersey during his lifetime. As evidenced by a copy of a surviving certificate (location of original unknown), Nordbrock completed a five-year apprenticeship with Tiffany & Co. at the firm's Prince Street Factory in June 1893. Six years later he married Johanna Fischer (1880-before 1940), also a German immigrant. The couple settled initially in the Bronx and then relocated to Newark, New Jersey, where they lived with Johanna Fischer's family. With Manhattan's silver industry in decline and Newark's on the rise, it is possible that the move was motivated by the availability of work. Nordbrock's stakes and graver are illustrative of a selection of finishing processes used by silversmiths.
The early twentieth-century tools are being offered by New York silversmith Bernard Bernstein. Bernstein purchased them from Nordbrock's grandson, John Carcano (b. 1933-?), in about 1997 and used them for his own silversmithing work. Bernstein believes that Nordbrock, following the age-old tradition of artisans making any tools needed for specific processes or those otherwise unavailable, may have made these tools as part of his silversmith training.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
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