This post was originally published on November 10, 2013.
Gerald Gulotta became an established freelance designer of ceramics, glassware, silver and stainless steel cutlery during the 1960s and 1970s. His sleek, slender, elegant tabletop designs look as contemporary today as they did during the height of his career. The Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design department recently acquired seven Gulotta drawings of stainless steel flatware. Three drawings document part of the design process for Espagña (designed 1968-70 and produced 1973-75) by La Industrial Mondragonesa, Portugal, the earliest of Gulotta’s cutlery designs in the collection. These comprise two drawings for the salad fork and knife, and fish knife; and one Photostat for the soup spoon whose shape and profile has been cut out of the sheet.
One sheet and a cut out knife relate to the steak knife for the Iona pattern, designed in 1979 and manufactured in 1980 by Lauffer. Two final drawings (one is double sided), which are the most interesting and appealing of the sheets, are filled with a variety of sketches. The verso of one sheet has designs for knives as well as a fork and spoon related to Iona, plus other designs similar to the Chromatics pattern. The recto of this sheet, however, shows designs for the knife (in different positions) for Rondure, produced 1998 by Dansk. The final sheet, seen above, shows Gulotta thinking about the concept of twisting the knife blade and handle applied to many different patterns including Axis, designed 1980-90 and produced in 1992 by Dansk, as well as several designs for forks. These drawings, seen together with the related patterns in the collection, are invaluable documents for understanding Gerald Gulotta’s working process for designing cutlery.
Gail Davidson is the retired Curator & Head of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.