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Style A-4. Serial number 3121.
Purchase funds gift of Norma and Joseph M. McFadden, Houston, 1998.
The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company's initial success was based on a new style of mandolin invented by Orville Gibson in the 1890s. Using a slightly arched back, in contrast to the traditional bowl back (pejoratively called "potato bugs" and their players "potato buggists"), Gibson developed two new styles—the Style "A" and "F" mandolins—that still set the standard for the mandolin industry. The Style A-4 has the most ornate trim of the pear-shaped Style A instruments. The Style F, by contrast, has a scrolled upper rib and distinctive "points."
The black, French-polished lacquer, gently curving lines, and abstract mother-of-pearl inlay of NMM 6192 show the strong influence of the Art Nouveau movement that was sweeping through the American decorative arts, 1890-1914.
Lit.: André P. Larson, "Recent Acquisitions," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter, Vol. 26, No. 1 (February 1999), p. 6.
André P. Larson, "Mandolin (A-4) by Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1905," South Dakota Musician, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Fall 1999), pp. cover, 19.