92832_e3677d152d6d557c_b[1]
This Paper is for Real
I have always admired a good woodgrain wallpaper. Woodgrain or faux bois wallpapers have been around almost as long as wallpaper itself and the Cooper Hewitt collection has examples printed in almost every technique including hand painted, woodblock, lithograph, machine and even self-adhesive vinyl. This particular design has always caught my eye as I think...
1984-135-4
Hurdy-Gurdy Man
At first glance, this porcelain figure is an ordinary jovial musician. He may even seem well dressed, with his bright red jacket and white cravat knotted at the neck. But a closer look exposes the torn breeches, ripped shoulder and scraggly hair. The last point drives home that this is no gentleman. During the eighteenth...
Sample, USA, 1937–61, designed and made by Marianne Strengell (Finnish, active USA, 1909–1998), plain weave wool and rayon warp with linen, Lurex, wool, and rayon weft, Gift of Marianne Strengell, 1984-111-15.
Education and Industry
This textile sample was designed and woven by Marianne Strengell, one of the most important textile artists and educators of the 20th century. Strengell employs a moody palette of blue, violets and blacks, punctuated with a metallic sheen reminiscent of stars emerging at twilight. The warp is composed of wool and rayon, with linen, lurex,...
28133_ecb92b9c6bb6bf5e_b[1]
The Always Delightful Alice
This charming children’s wallpaper illustrating the tale of Alice in Wonderland contains many of the delightful characters we remember from childhood: the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Queen of Hearts, the caterpillar, and of course Alice, both big and small. This was designed by Tony Sarg, artist, illustrator, puppeteer, and balloon designer for...
OTD_Defunkt
A Funky Front Cover
A man in a tuxedo holds a white fedora hat in this Defunkt album cover designed by Tibor Kalman. As in some of his other album designs, Kalman chose to alter the band’s name through reverse lettering. Printed in multicolor, the text is especially striking printed atop the black and white photograph. When reflecting on...
OTD_Crabeth
What’s Your Sign?
What do balls, goats, and turtles have in common? …They’re all symbols of a powerful man. In 1570, Cosimo I de’ Medici opened the Laurentian Library in Florence, realizing a decades-long project to house and promote his family’s vast collection of scholarly manuscripts.[1] This drawing shows a design for one of the library’s stained glass...
189454_0b20a60d84c4b73b_b[1]
A Wallpaper Double Take
On first glance the B 100 wallpaper appears to be a woodgrain design. The knots, woodgrain pattern, and individual planks are all clearly visible. But the ominous gray color makes one stop to reconsider, maybe there is more to this than just a woodgrain pattern. Woodgrain designs, usually printed with earthy colors, impart a warm...
2008-27-1
The Midas Touch?
Is it possible for a chair to be organic, imaginative, and even a little bit sexy? Perhaps, if it is one of the works by American designer Wendell Castle. Castle’s Triad chair is a piece composed of curvilinear sweeps of gilt fiberglass that make a strangely inviting seat. At the risk of pushing the pun...
Trade Catalogue. Katalog Nr. 60 [&65].  Art Deco Lighting. Meissen-Glas.  Dresden: Circa, 1930.  Smithsonian Libraries
Uplighting, Deco Style
Two rare Art Deco period catalogues, newly acquired by the CHM library, include illustrations with accompanying specifications and cost for more than 100 glass lighting fixtures manufactured by Meissner Glasraffinerie of Dresden dating circa 1930.  Their factory was located at Coswig on the river Elbe situated between Meissen and Dresden, Germany. Not much is recorded...