Sidewall, 1830
A Wallpaper View of Early New York
This wallpaper shows a view of New York harbor as seen from Castle Williams on Governor's Island. The design features a landscape view that alternates with an eagle bearing an E Pluribus Unum banner. The paper is woodblock-printed in grisaille or shades of gray with a green filigree running through the design that outlines and...
Egg Cup, Gourmet, designed 1958
Elegant Egg Cups
Kristian Vedel is primarily known as a furniture designer, trained by the Danish architect-designer Kaare Klint and strongly influenced by Klint's standards of economy, function and simplicity. Vedel established his own studio in 1955. These stacking egg cups are one of his early innovative designs, part of the Gourmet line of plastic tableware from about 1958....
Print, From a Series of Naval Battles for Wedding Festivities of Cosimo Il deMedici, Ship of Heracles, 1608
What Would the Medici Do?
It is easy to think, in the age of Pinterest and the Knot, that weddings have never before been so extravagant.  Without knowing the history of weddings in the West, we all too often find ourselves rolling our eyes at 30,000 dollar weddings.  But, those tasty, miniature, artisanal canapés with pickle remoulade (at fifteen dollars...
Textile, ca. 1780
The Astronomer
Illustrated accounts of travels to the Far East served as guides for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century artists in Europe, who used these illustrations to create fanciful and imaginative chinoiserie scenes. This textile’s design is in the style of the prolific French chinoiserie artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement. Pillement’s astronomers were inspired by the travel accounts of sixteenth- and...
Firescreen, 1825-40
Still Life with Canary, or A Hungry Cat
While the genre of still life painting dates back to ancient times, it had emerged as a specialty by the late sixteenth century. Still lifes depicted mostly inanimate objects and could include natural things such as fruit, flowers or animal trophies, as well as man-made objects such as vessels or books. While it is not...
Sidewall, "When in Rome", 1958
When in Rome
This design consists of five different structures of ancient Rome, including some of the more well-known ruins such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum. All of the structures are seen in silhouette, as are the peculiar cast of characters patrolling them. Appearing in front of each structure are Roman soldiers either on...
Scarf, Reflecting Well, ca. 2003
Reflecting Well
Reflecting Well, by Junichi Arai, continues his life-long investigation into materials and textile techniques and the transformation of two-dimensional cloth into sculptural and vibrant surfaces. In this polyester and aluminum piece, Arai combines a melt-off technique, which dissolves the metallic thread leaving behind a transparent cloth, with shibori, a type of tie-dyeing technique that, in...
Chair, Consumers Rest, ca. 1991
Shopping carts crashing (servers)
In post-apocalyptic cinema the slow sweeping shot of a half-submerged shopping cart in a river is a standard – just before the horde of zombies lurch onscreen. Symbolic of consumerism under late capitalism, in these films the shopping cart is a marker of our (lost) civilization. Shopping carts also evoke memories of childhood – hours...
Panel, P.Kasuri No. 46, 2007
Colors within colors
Jun Tomita is a Japanese textile artist who has worked with the traditional dyeing technique of kasuri for over two decades, while adding his own rich and contemporary interpretation. Kasuri, the Japanese word for ikat (which is derived from the Malay-Indonesian word mengikat, meaning "to tie or to bind"), has been popular in Japan since...
Dado, France, 1810–15. Block-printed on handmade paper. Gift of Teresa Kilham, 1955-86-2
Hercules Supports the World, and the Wall
This is a wallpaper dado, in the neoclassical style which would be hung at the bottom of the wall between the baseboard and chair rail. As it is located near the floor, the dado is visually supporting the weight of the wall and for this reason it was frequently architectural in nature. The deep colonnade...