Whistler’s Audain Art Museum unveiled a British Columbia jewel in a private reception last night.
The 112-year-old prize, a vase designed by American jewelry designer, sculptor, and metallurgist, George Paulding Farnham, is on loan from the National Gallery of Canada for the next three years and will be on public display beginning tomorrow (May 18).
The vase was constructed by silversmiths at Tiffany & Co., the luxury jewelry retailer where Farnham worked in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is the twin to a similar vase made out of the same one-tonne block of precious metal from the Ptarmigan Mine in the Selkirk Mountains in the province’s Southern Interior.
The British Columbia connection is why the National Gallery of Canada invested U.S. $662,500 to acquire the piece from a New York auction in 2011. Its design has multiple references to First Nations residents in the area of the Ptarmigan Mine, a latin cross indicating the latitude and longitude of where the mine and Mount Farnham are situated, as well as the British Columbia coat of arms adopted in 1895.
The permanent collection of the Audain Art Museum spans the last 200 years of art-making in the province. It officially opened in Whistler on March 12 and largely features the personal art collection of Vancouver residents Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa.