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’...
1913-45-10-a,b
American Bandbox
Bandboxes, rendered completely obsolete in today’s world of attached collars, were once a necessary possession for any man who liked to wear shirts. This patriotic example dates c. 1821- 1824, and it has lived within the collections of the Cooper Hewitt and its predecessors since 1913. The box is constructed of pasteboard covered in block-printed...
Hewitts_11_featured
Meet the Hewitts: New Discoveries!
In Meet the Hewitts: Part Ten, our history of the Hewitt family and the founding of the Cooper Union Museum concluded with Sarah Hewitt’s death in 1930. Recently, new images and information surfaced — a researcher’s “eureka!” moments — and we want to share these findings with you. The story of Sarah and Eleanor continues!...
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...
Silk kasuri kimono fabric by Junichi Arai (Japanese, b. 1932)
From Gray to Black
This extraordinary kimono length transitions over its forty-five foot span from gray at one end to black at the other, creating a striking diagonal composition. The flawless line of the diagonal and the evenness of the gray color, the result of crossing white warps with black wefts, is a testament to the skill of the...
48381_4b9ac6dec70f6909_b[1]
In Line
In Line, a wallpaper designed by prolific illustrator Ilonka Karasz, appears here as pages from a 1948 sample book, which originally contained the work of forty leading contemporary designers. Square blocks, each composed of a creatively arranged, continuous zigzag line, are stacked up like Tetris tiles on a dark-eggplant colored ground. The blocks are rendered...
1907-14-3-a:e
A Patriotic Chair
What did George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, General Knox, and Benjamin Franklin have in common? Windsor chairs. These chairs were first produced in England in the very first years of the 18th century. Although many folk tales surround the origin of the name (including some involving George III caught in a rain storm), it is likely...
89957_d15f85479e535a57_b[1]
Watercolor Wallpaper
Many of the wallcoverings in the Cooper Hewitt’s collection were created by designers better known for their work in the fine arts. This sidewall, c. 1927, was designed by Charles Burchfield, a much-loved American watercolorist. A mint-green trellis embellished with cross-hatching divides the panel into regular diamond-shaped cells. Each cell contains a stencil-like image of...
1963-39-119 Matt Flynn_eo
Laws of Attraction
American-born E. McKnight Kauffer is perhaps best known for his series of ground-breaking poster designs produced for the London Underground in the 1920s and 1930s. Widely recognized as one of the greatest graphic designers of early twentieth century Europe, Kauffer, who lived for much of his career in London, was influenced heavily by the work...