Handkerchief, World's Fair, 1939, screen printed silk
A Souvenir from the Fair
The 1939 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens was themed the ‘World of Tomorrow.’ Visitors came away with visions of radio-controlled highways, mechanical milking machines, and the 7-foot-tall Westinghouse robot. Many also left with Fair memorabilia, from the pins given away at the Futurama exhibition that read ‘I have seen the future,’ to...
1956-5-4
I Slån, Slån you?
Gerd Göran’s Slån wallpaper design shows pale blue dots arranged in rows within an irregular, light-gray net on white ground. The pattern is at first reminiscent of bubble wrap, or maybe even caviar, if you’re feeling fancy. Swedish speakers, however, might realize that the name of the paper hints at the designer’s inspiration. Slån (sloe,...
Henry Varnum poor_1988-44-5
Poor’s Plate
Upon his return from military service in Europe in 1919, Henry Varnum Poor settled in an artists’ community in New City, New York where he purchased land and began single-handedly building a home called Crow House, named after the local birds who kept him company while he worked. As a struggling painter Poor was always...
Dedication page for an album of metalwork, shows text surrounded by a rococo frame
A Royal Visit
Dedication pages are as old as the history of publishing—if not older. However, it is rare that we see a dedication page featuring a scene such as the one illustrated here. This print is a dedication page from Recueil des ouvrages en serrurerie (1767), an album of engraving featuring metalwork designs by the French ironmonger,...
2013-50-43
A Stool of a Rare Architect
We can define as “rare” an artist whose work is hard to reach or to see, because there are only few creations that remain from him, and because the tracks that could explain most of them are lost. Trying to reach them becomes a true quest for the art lover. Pierre Chareau (1883-1950) was such...
Folding fan, France, 1790-1800, bone sticks, painted paper leaf, sequins
A Fan of the Directoire Period
This finely painted paper fan exemplifies the simpler styles of the Directoire period and the effects of the French Revolution in 1789. The period 1789-1800 is characterized by a radical change in fashion: the excesses of the pre-revolutionary period were rejected for simpler designs and humbler materials. Earlier 18th century fans were elaborate in design...
Vase design with the lid in the shape of a tortoise
The Tortoise and the Vase
It may take a moment to figure out this eccentric vase design: is a tortoise sitting on a faceted plinth or are the two integrated into a single design? This eccentric print actually shows a vase, or an ewer with a lid shaped like a tortoise. Its mouth serves as the sprout, and its tail...
1968-111-10
The Fox and the Crow
The fables attributed to the ancient Greek slave, Aesop, have remained relevant for thousands of years and been depicted by countless generations. Here we see an old favorite, “The Fox and the Crow,” retold through the magic of wallpaper. This paper was made in France, c. 1840, and the design is block-printed on white satin...
2013-54-2
Modern Geometry
Who knew geometry could be so beautiful? This 1928 sugar bowl and creamer set epitomizes American modern design; yet, it is clearly influenced by the modern turn of European design from the same period, as evidenced by the Exposition internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, 1925, as well as by Walter Gropius’...