Object of the Day

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1977-52-30-a,b
Why Gild the Lily?
The unpainted surface of this perfume burner draws attention to the milky whiteness of the ceramic body. In the mid-eighteenth century, the right to use gold on ceramics was the exclusive privilege of the Vincennes manufactory, compelling Mennecy and other French factories to focus on the sculptural aspect of their production. Unpainted, glazed porcelain became...
Dark-skinned youth dressed as Turkish Sultana sits cross-legged on mound of rugs and cushions. His cloak edged in fur and wears elaborate turban of feathers and jewels, with more jewels at neck and waist.
Dressing the Part
In preparation for the festivities of Carnival in 1748, a group of students at the French Academy in Rome conspired to dress collectively as Turkish men traveling in a sultan’s caravan to Mecca. The pensionnaires crafted homemade costumes, painting linen to resemble sumptuous brocades and hanging oversized turbans with faux pearls and feathers. Their fantastic...
Panel from a firescreen, 1859–1869, Halifax, England, worsted threads adhered to linen ground, Bequest of Mrs. John Innes Kane, 1926-22-339.
A Curious Carpet
By the middle of the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. British manufacturers of all kinds developed innovative techniques to produce goods for an ever-growing global consumer base. Many successful companies developed artistic sidelines that utilized their established resources in experimental ways. John Crossley & Son was one of the largest carpet...
tatue of Liberty illustration in red and blue on white background. Recto: Closeup of statue's face in red, with gold sunbursts above. Verso: Closeup of statue's torch in blue, also with gold sunbursts. Right side panel: Celebration/ Patron of the July 4th Fireworks/ Bloomingdale's.
The Art of Shopping
Buy something at Bloomingdale’s, and you’ll likely receive one of three different brown paper bags: little, medium or big, depending on the size of your purchase. Spelled out in iconic sans-serif, these size classifications are the classic bags’ only adornment. This striking, simple design, created by Massimo Vignelli in 1973, has seen huge success as...
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Rip Van Wallpaper
Wallpaper, like all design, can be a powerful tool for communicating a specific message. Take for example wallpapers printed during the French Revolution that portrayed ribbons of red, white and blue in support of the uprising. On this object, however, a message has been spelled-out right on top of the design, the pattern becoming a...
2016-5-1_3
Dining with a Triangle
Geometry has always been a friend of the dinner table. During the 18th century both the hexagon and octagon were part of the repertoire of shapes used for plates, teapots, and other dining accoutrements in Europe, as seen in these English Queen Anne style silver salts dating from 1717 and this Chinese export armorial plate...
Textile, early 20th century, Manchester, England for African market, cotton printed by engraved roller, Gift of Elizabeth Riefstahl, 1953-90-14
Imitation Embroidery for Export
This fabric, printed in Manchester, England for the African market, has a design which imitates the embroidered gowns worn by Hausa men in Nigera. The design of the embroideries is believed to have been influenced by men who learned the art of calligraphy from studying the Qur’an, and reflect an identification with Islam. They are...
2016-5-13
Let’s Rock
Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi designed this simple, stylish stool for Knoll in 1954. Noguchi went to Paris in the 1920s, and worked in the studio of Constantin Brancusi from 1927–29. He also met Alexander Calder and Alberto Giacometti during this time – all three of these sculptors and their work would remain as...
Large charcoal drawing of the stage for "King Lear" scene two. The stage itself is black and the backdrop is white and grey. At left, a tall, straight-backed chair. In center, extending from backdrop to front of stage, is a long, flat bed.
Wilson Lights the Lights
If anyone has come to know seminal avant-garde theatre director Robert Wilson, they will have witnessed the autodidact hard at work sketching. Whether backstage at a major European opera house or cramped into an economy-class plane seat—flying over the Alps to simulate the intensity of a Wagner aria—he always garners silence when drawing. When at...