Object of the Day

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Sutnar
Modernism in a Milk Jug
Functionalism is the idea that form should follow function; objects should be designed simply, honestly, and directly. [1] It should be immediately clear to a viewer and a user what the object is and how to use it. Functionalist objects are primarily domestic objects, which makes this milk jug an example of Functionalism in inter-war...
Esquisse Decoratives _Clef (Key) Pl.14
Art Nouveau and Everyday Life
Art nouveau as both an architectural style and a style for any kind of ornament, permeated so much of European culture during the time period of 1890–1910. Fashion, graphic design, household furnishings and so many other everyday objects reflected this style – even your house keys were Art Nouveau! The Cooper-Hewitt Library has a large...
Hanging: Spring Thaw by Lenore Tawney, USA, 1959-60
Is It Springtime Yet?
With a deeply personal connection to weaving, Lenore Tawney’s craft was not an exercise in patience, but in devotion. Some of her works have even been called “altars of meditation” for their quiet spirituality. “Spring Thaw” is a fine example of the delicate and ethereal quality of her work. The background is creamy white, with...
1981-17-1-b lo res
A Transition in Trends
Vertically stacked archways and medallions made of Moorish tiles frame views of architecture from far off lands in this sidewall from the last quarter of the nineteenth-century. An Indian Gazebo, Turkish Mosque, French Chateau and even an onion-domed Russian church all make appearances. Palm trees, flocks of storks, waterfalls and elegant stone staircases add to...
00000658
Artful Text
Tausend und ein Anfangsbuchstaben – One Thousand and One Initial Letters – is a rare book designed and illuminated by Owen Jones in 1864, eight years after Jones published his influential design sourcebook The Grammar of Ornament. While the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library’s copy is in German, the book was also published in English...
1968-143-1
Bent into Shape
This chair was made in about 1900 in Catskill, New York, the region that inspired some of America’s greatest landscape painting. In the nineteenth century, artists, writers, and tourists travelled to the Catskills in awe of the falls, mountains, and landscape views, which Frederick Church among others so famously depicted. The rapid development of the...
1981-29-101
Tour de France
France is known for cycling, hosting the famous – and now infamous – Tour de France bike race each summer. In 1968 Peugeot jumped on board the notion of a Tour de France and promoted a trip by vélometeur (or moped) through various departments of the country. One section, pictured in this poster by American...
Placket sampler, cotton embroidered in cross, buttonhole, looping, and running stitches, Germany, 1871
Practical Sewing
Decorative embroidered samplers were made by daughters of the well-to-do for display in their homes, and were symbols of gentility as much as of skill. For daughters of the poor, instruction in needlework, while equally important, often had a more practical purpose: to prepare them for work as domestic servants. Going into service for a...
1956-5-5
Queen Anne’s Lace
Neutral tones and subtle pattern define this mid-century Scandinavian wallpaper. Large, airy blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace float like fluffy fireworks on a light gray ground. The larger blooms are composed of hundreds of tiny white flowers supported by a framework of dark gray stems. As in nature, a single bright red flower marks the...