Object of the Day

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1996-83-1
Textile by Testa
Although the name may be unfamiliar to some, American textile designer Angelo Testa (American, 1921–1984) made an important contribution to 20th century textile design. As the very first graduate of the Institute of Design in Chicago, Testa was at the vanguard of the “New Bauhaus”, alongside Lazlo Moholy Nagy, Marli Ehrman and George Fred Keck....
2013-9-1
Psyche’s Offering to Venus
Cooper Hewitt has a full set of the Loves of Psyche scenic wallpaper first produced in 1816. The museum’s edition was printed in the early twentieth century using the original woodblocks. This scenic paper is unique on two fronts: it is the only scenic not designed to be continuous, and it is the only scenic...
2015-5-6_7
The Modern Spirit
Introduced at the 1928 Pittsburgh Glass and Pottery Exhibit, designer Reuben Haley’s Ruba Rombic forms epitomize the geometric style and ideals of American Art Deco. The Art Deco style, popularized by the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, which likely also inspired Haley, is often characterized by jagged lines and...
ceiling
Groundwork for a ceiling
Have we fallen down? What is going on here? The perspective in this late 17th-century Italian drawing is so strange because it is meant to be viewed from below. This drawing was done in preparation for a painted ceiling, a frequent feature of the sumptuous palaces and grand churches built in Italy in the 16th-19th...
19-- Matt Flynn 002
Studied Flirtation
This fan depicts a scene from Roman mythology in which Vertumnus, god of orchards, seduces the nymph Pomona, steward of fruit trees, by assuming the guise of an old woman. The story is best known from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a collection of myths centered around the recurring themes of love and transformation. Such tales were apt...
1931-40-37
An Inherited Innovation
This plate was designed by Joseph-Theodore Deck, who worked at Sèvres as a designer before eventually becoming director in 1887 until his death in 1891. Prior to becoming director, Deck was part of the Council of Improvement and helped to establish aesthetic and technical directives for the manufactory at the end of the nineteenth century....
kauffer
Tea, anyone?
Until the 1920’s, the tea industry’s main outlet was Great Britain, where consumption had been rising significantly since the beginning of the century[1]. This situation changed after the First World War and the economic crisis following the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Traditional surpluses in tea production from British India and Ceylon surged, while increasing pressure...
Print
Pilgrim’s Progress, the wallpaper
One of the influences on design and technology in the nineteenth century was new information on health and hygiene. It was discovered early in the century that germs cause disease, and there were a number of cholera outbreaks beginning early in the nineteenth century which lasted through most of the century. Wallpaper had always been...
1938-57-1226-a
Inventive Surface Treatments for Textiles
Mariano Fortuny and his family collected textiles and costumes from around the world, compiling a rich resource that served as inspiration for his own designs. “A fabric design,” he once noted, “concretely captures a moment through the skill of the artist, who responds unconsciously to the place and time in which he lives.” This pattern...