Olaf Skoogfors (1934-1975) is not a name rolling off everyone’s tongue. A Swede who grew up in the United States, he began his long career working with silver having studied at the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester before apprenticing under Hans Christensen, a Dane who had worked for Georg Jensen in Europe.
The Scandinavian style and influence is evident in Skoogfors work. His seven-light candelabrum is a knockout in my books. The tulip-form candle holders are drawn from the single center like pulled taffy. And I love this form of candelabra because it works delightfully well with a small round dining table. It’s the perfect substitute for a centerpiece and is low enough to talk across the table.
The chalice and paten are not silver, but the delicious texture captivated me and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. It has a natural pebbled feel – almost like elephant skin. The way the light catches it is sublime. Like in these pieces, Skoogfors often experimented with the finish of his silver to develop pieces which capture the light in interesting ways.
His coffee pot is sleek and lean, the spout and handle are higher on the body than traditional pieces, which gives this a modern edge. Can’t you just imagine Betty Draper using this for after dinner coffee? So chic!
By the late 1960s, Skoogfors had almost completely moved to making amazing jewelry, which gave him the chance to really experiment with materials and textures. So with only about 10 years of silver work out there, it’s rare … very rare! Far more rare than any Jensen silver. So if you ever find the Olaf Skoogfors signature on a piece whilst rummaging through a garage sale or a vintage shop, buy it, and run as fast as you can. You will likely have bought a very, very good piece of American silver!
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city
image credits: (main image) courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art all others courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston.
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