Decorative Art

The decorative art collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art is internationally known and includes work that is considered some of the finest of its type in the world.

The collection is one of the most visible areas of collecting in the museum since the works are displayed alongside paintings and sculpture of similar eras or origin in galleries located throughout the museum. It consists of useful objects in which the form and decoration are the primary focus of interest, not objects intended purely as sculpture.

The works that appear on view are of very high quality and visual interest. The best American material can be found in the galleries devoted to 19th-century art, while Asian export wares consist primarily of 18th-century Chinese export porcelain.

European furniture, silver, and ceramics from the 16th to the 19th centuries form one of the strongest collections in the museum. In particular, the works of Limoges enamel, Italian maiolica, German and French silver and ceramics, and French 18th-century furniture are among the best in the United States and known internationally through scholarship and exhibitions.

Significant works in 19th- and 20th-century decorative arts have been added in recent years, making this an emerging strength in the museum’s collections. The work by Peter Carl Fabergé from around 1900 is considered some of the finest of its type in the world.