Barquist, David L.

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OfficeYale University Art Gallery, P.O. Box 208271, New Haven, CT 06520-8271.


Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, associate curator of American decorative arts, 1981—.


Charles F. Montgomery Prize of the Decorative Arts Society, 1992, for American Tables and Looking Glasses in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University.


American and English Pewter at the Yale University Gallery: A Supplementary Checklist, Yale University Gallery (New Haven, CT), 1985.

(Coauthor, with Patricia E. Kane and Aline H. Zeno) American Silver from the Kossack Collection: A Checklist, Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), 1988.

American Tables and Looking Glasses in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, essays by Elisabeth Donaghy and Gerald W. R. Ward, photographs by Charles Uht, Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), 1992.

Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York, with essays by Jon Butler and Jonathan D. Sarna, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2001.


David L. Barquist has worked at the Yale Museum of Art since 1981 and has written extensively on colonial American decorative arts. In American Tables and Looking Glasses in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, Barquist presents a catalogue for museum curators, antique dealers, and collectors of Americana. In addition to Barquist's numerous catalogue entries on the objects, the book includes essays by other experts in the field. "Barquist translates the vocabulary of objects to the printed page and shares thousands of bits of information about construction techniques and materials," wrote Philip Zea in a review of the book for the Journal of the Early Republic. Zea went on to note that the book "is part of the tradition of education at Yale that reflects excellence in this field."

The book and catalogue Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York was written by Barquist as a result of research for his doctoral dissertation and to accompany a 2001 exhibition at the Yale University Art Museum focusing on the life and work of the first Jewish silversmith in New York. Considered one of New York's most productive silversmiths during the late colonial period, Myer Myers created silver pieces for wealthy patrons. "Myers success as a silversmith was the result of his talents not only as a craftsman but also as an entrepreneur who marshaled the skills of other craftsmen and specialist," noted Barquist in an article in the Yale Bulletin & Calendar.

The book features several essays on the craftsman's life and career and on colonial Judaism. Myers was born in New York City and worked there as a successful silversmith until 1776, when British troops attacked the city after George Washington had made it his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Myers, who supported America's desire to be independent from Great Britain, moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, but the town was sacked and burned by the British in 1779. Myers lost his home, his studio, and all of his tools and moved to Stratford, Connecticut, and continued to work. Although he returned to New York immediately after the war, Myers's losses and the changing times—including new production techniques, a change from the Rococo style Myers specialized in to Neoclassicism, new artisans, and a troubled economy—were too great for Myers to overcome and rise once again to the status of an elite merchant-artisan. As Barquist commented of the Myers exhibition to Susan Emerling in the Los Angeles Times, "There is nothing else in American silver equal to this."

Writing in the Library Journal, Martin Chasin noted that Barquist's book is "a well-researched contribution on the work and life of the Jewish silversmith Myer Myers and an examination of the society in which he lived." A reviewer in Publishers Weekly called the book, which contains 200 photographs, "a fascinating scholarly look at a previously obscure aspect of pre-revolutionary America." In a review for Choice, W. Cahn stated that the book is "bound to remain the standard reference work on Myers for a long time."



Choice, May, 2002, W. Cahn, review of Myer Myers: Jewish Silversmith in Colonial New York, p. 1571.

Journal of the Early Republic, winter, 1993, Philip Zea, review of American Tables and Looking Glasses in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, pp. 548-549.

Library Journal, March 15, 2002, review of Myer Myers, p. 75.

Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2002, Susan Emerling, "An American Heritage Cast in Silver," pp. 65-66.

Publishers Weekly, September 17, 2001, review of Myer Myers, p. 74.

Yale Bulletin & Calendar, September 14, 2001, "Display Explores Life and Work of Colonial-Era Jewish Silversmith."*