Author: Gail Davidson

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vinoly_kimmel-center
Designing with brush strokes
Architect Rafael Viñoly still does hand sketches as well as beautiful watercolors for his projects. For the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia (1998–2001), Viñoly was tasked with providing a cultural complex: a hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra and a second performance space for multiple types of theatrical productions. The center was also to...
predictasketch
The Future of Television
This concept sketch for the famed Philco Predicta television (1958–60), an example of which is in the museum’s collection, stands out for its red tuner that recalls the dashboard of a 1950s automobile. The design is the work of Robert E. Doyle, a member of the Predicta design team that was led by Herbert Gosweiler...
hensel
A Woman Uncovered
Researching a work in the collection can lead a curator to some very interesting places other than libraries. I was fortunate to have been in Berlin on May 14, 2015 which was the anniversary of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s death in 1847. I had corresponded previously with Thomas Lackmann, a descendant of Fanny Hensel’s and board...
parzinger
Extravagant Interior by Tommi Parzinger
I was lucky enough to have lived with Tommi (Anton) Parzinger furniture as a teenager. I was raised in a modern house, and my mother worked with an interior designer who ordered several Parzinger pieces, a brass-studded sideboard, a brass chandelier and a coffee set. Today my sister has the sideboard and I have the...
potemkin
Battleship!
It is fascinating to compare the visual concept behind Hans Hillmann’s poster Panzerkreuzer Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) for the 1966 German rerelease of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 film with that of Stanislaw Zamecznik’s for the same film dating a year later in Poland. It is hard to imagine a more minimalist design than Hans Hillmann’s striking composition....
Poster, Esto es el fascismo! miseria...destruccion...persecucion...y muerte
Fighting Fascism: Spanish Civil War Posters
In 1996, colleagues at the Museum of Modern Art recommended to a donor that Cooper Hewitt be offered an opportunity to review a collection of rare posters from the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). These had been gathered by journalist William Mangold, who worked for the new Republic in Spain during that war. Thirty posters representing...
friedman
The Dan Friedman Collection
American designer Dan Friedman was a student of Swiss master Armin Hofmann in the late 1960s. Friedman was working at Anspach, Grossman, Portugal, Inc., when the firm secured the account for the new Citicorp identity. He designed Citicorp’s logo and other key elements of the brand campaign. His poster for Citicorp Center, advertising Citicorp as...
The Chinese Drawing Room Looking Toward the Conservatory, Middleton Park, Oxfordshire, 1840
A Chinese Fantasy
This room portrait is one of two views of the Middleton Park drawing room in Cooper Hewitt’s Thaw Collection.  The interior was designed in the chinoiserie style and shows a room mostly filled with bamboo furniture, a Chinese or Chinese style painted or wallpaper of exotic birds sitting in trees, and a frieze of pseudo-Chinese...
25744_d163f42acab3bd9a_b
Is There a Gothic Cottage in Your Future?
This charming gothic interior was the private study in the Cottage Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia, of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. Born Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia, Charlotte, as she was known, was promised in a political alliance to Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich in 1814. They married three years later and by 1825...