Object of the Day

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Poster: IBM, Every Man with an Idea Has at Least Two or Three Followers. Ken White (American, 1935-1985). Gift of Various Donors, 1981-29-442
A Bright Idea
Over a century ago, IBM founder, Chairman and CEO Thomas J. Watson Sr. (1874-1956) held a meeting with NCR (formerly National Cash Register) sales managers to brainstorm ways to improve the business. With little progress made, Watson’s frustration led him to declare the following: “The trouble with every one of us is that we don’t...
Decorative Views of Technology
From telescopes to the Erie Canal, to planes, trains and automobiles, technological innovations have long been incorporated into wallpaper designs. With cast iron reaching new aesthetic and structural heights in architecture beginning in the 1850s, it made sense to capture its more decorative aspect in a wallpaper design. This paper highlights views of New York...
Drawing, "Fatehpur Sikri" Birbal's Palace, India, March 19, 1881. Lockwood de Forest. Gifted by a Private Santa Barbara Collector, courtesy of Sullivan Goss - An American Art Gallery, 2013-38-2
A Wonderful Red in the Sunlight
This sketch documents Lockwood de Forest’s trip to India. In 1880, he and Meta Kemble were married in New York and soon thereafter they departed for India on their combined honeymoon and buying trip. By this time, de Forest had already abandoned landscape painting as a profession and committed himself to design and the decorative...
Woman's Ceremonial Skirt, Democratic Republic of Congo
Unwound from the Round
            This woman’s ceremonial dance skirt from the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects the rich artistic textile traditions of a diverse kingdom inhabiting the fertile lands between the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers in Sub-Saharan Central Africa. Kuba cloth is made from woven raffia fiber derived...
Sidewall, "Faltenwurf" (Shadow-Folds), 1971-72. Paul Wunderlich (German, 1927-2010). Made by Marburg Wallpaper Company. Machine-printed on paper. Museum purchase from Sarah Cooper-Hewitt Fund, 1992-110-1
Your Very Own Secret Garden
Garden Court is one of the largest screen-printed wallcoverings in the Museum’s collection, and is said to be the “largest silk screen ever printed in one piece.” Because of its large size, measuring 8×6 feet, the printing necessitated a special rag paper, with a single sheet for each print. The print run was limited to...
Sampler, 1819
Children at Play
This sampler was worked by Mary Fitz (1807–1849) in 1819 at the Catherine Welshans Buchanan’s school in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. The central scene depicts two fashionably dressed women in a grape arbor, one standing and the other seated on a bench. The border is made up of compartmentalized motifs including a heart, baskets of grapes and...
Sidewall, "Faltenwurf" (Shadow-Folds), 1971-72. Paul Wunderlich (German, 1927-2010). Made by Marburg Wallpaper Company. Machine-printed on paper. Museum purchase from Sarah Cooper-Hewitt Fund, 1992-110-1
Like Hide and Seek
German wallpaper manufacturers have been commissioning renowned artists to design wallpapers for many years, and this practice became especially prominent in the post-war period. In the early 1970s, the Marburg Wallpaper Company approached a diverse group of international artists to create wallpaper designs that would reflect the taste of the time. The company wanted to...
Hanging, 1973. Peter Collingwood (British, 1922 – 2008). Linen, metal rods. Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund, 1976-37-1
Structure and Material in Perfect Harmony
Peter Collingwood was trained as a doctor but abandoned medicine for a distinguished career as a weaver. He studied weaving in the early 1950s with Ethel Mariat, Barbara Sawyer, and Alastair Morton, all preeminent British weavers of the time, before setting up his own studio. Collingwood was consumed by his interest in textile structures, fascinated...
Poster, International Design Festival, Osaka, 1983. Designed by Yusaku Kamekura. Gift of Sara and Marc Benda, 2009-20-16.
Something Old, Something New
Yusaku Kamekura achieved what most only hope to accomplish in more than half a century of professional longevity. Kamekura was born in Japan’s Niigata prefecture in 1915 and was schooled at the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts, built by Ranahichiro Kawakita. As a student, Kamekura was heavily influenced by Bauhaus design theories and...
Bandbox and lid, Castle Garden, ca. 1830–40; USA; Block-printed paper on wood support; Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt, 1918-19-7-a,b
From Protector to Entertainer, The Different Faces of Castle Garden
The building illustrated on this bandbox has served many purposes over the years. Built in 1808, it originally was used as a stronghold in New York Harbor for the War of 1812 and was first known as Southwest Battery and renamed Castle Clinton in 1817. In 1823 the Federal Government deeded the fort to New...