Object of the Day

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Tiffany Exhibition Catalog_Cover and Title Page
Tiffany & Co. at the Chicago Fair
Founded in 1837, Tiffany & Co. by the late 19th century had become one of the leading manufacturers and retailers in America of fine jewelry and luxury items.  This small catalog lists items on display from Tiffany & Co.  in the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building at the Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.  The...
Drawing of engaged rustic columns with Tuscan capitals projecting from an archway. Above, an undecorated entablature and triangular pediment with three vertical projections.
Rustic Tuscan
Rusticated masonry was first used in the classical world. It is characterized by stones cut with a deliberately rough surface, and wide sunken joints between blocks. The Ancient Romans typically employed coarse stone in public structures such as city walls and aqueducts. However, during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41 – 54 C.E.), rusticated stonework...
1997-11-4_9
The Aesthetic Office: Tiffany’s Grapevine Desk Set
The father of the English Arts & Crafts Movement William Morris once stated, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This maxim surely included the office, and Morris would most certainly have approved of this six-piece desk set by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a perfect...
265535_4c2a74841eed18d9_b[1]
A Terrific Trellis
Thomas Strahan Co. was a prolific American wallpaper manufacturer that is well-represented in the Cooper Hewitt’s collection. Mr. Strahan was a successful retailer of wallcoverings, and also had a stint as mayor of Chelsea, Massachusetts. He founded his company in 1866 after becoming frustrated that “he could not obtain wall papers approaching his decorative standards.”...
Sampler, 1829, New York, USA, wool embroidered with silk in cross, stem, chain, back, and four-sided stitches, 1941-69-124
Embroidering the State
Elizabeth Ann Goldin was fourteen when she embroidered this map of the State of New York. Such map samplers would have provided an excellent opportunity for schoolgirls to display their knowledge of geography as well as their needlework skills. In addition to outlining and naming each New York county, Elizabeth depicts Lakes Erie, Ontario, and...
81967_55b153ad4e035340_b
Sensing a new spirit of Japan
When it comes to Japanese graphic design, a certain set of visual elements are conjured in one’s mind. Simplified forms; a minimal color palette, the generous use of negative space; an effective use of black; and unique lettering, are all characteristic elements that draw on the aesthetics of Zen culture, Japanese Buddhism, calligraphy, ukiyo-e woodblock...
Oversized poster for AIGA calling for entries for contest. Poster folds into 16 sections. Computerized photo reproduction of whirlpool (in black and white) and fish (in color) in middle. Imprinted below fish: "Communication Graphics 1993" (in black). Red, yellow and black dots assembled to form human figure at left center with head overlapping image of whirlpool. Square cut out in center of head with digital image of brain. Five other digital images of brain in various perspectives superimposed over figure with accompanying labels. Flow chart at left center: "brain/ reading/ unity/ language/ reasoning/ and/ mathematics" (in black). Imprinted, near top center, in text boxes: "neomammalian/ 200 million years old/ cerebral cortex:/ problem-solving, memorizing, creating/ paleomammalian/ 300 million years old/ limbic:/ emotional feelings guiding behavior/ reptilian/ 500 million years old/ self-preservation, hunting, homing, mating, establishing territory,/ and fighting". Photo reproduction (in black and white) of man and inversed image of same photo above. Two images connected by X's (in green and red lines). Along right edge: "AIGA/ Commun-/ication/ Graphics/ 1993" (in yellow), interspersed with names of various designers (in vertical orientation).
Mind and Body
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. “I believe that all designers come to a task with a unique way of ordering that is particular to their past experiences, and perhaps even their genetic structure,” says maverick...
Textile, 1915-1920, USA, printed on velvet, 1972-6-12-a,b
Peruvian Birds Discovered in New York
In 1972 Cooper Hewitt received a bequest of textiles from New York City architect and artist Julian Clarence Levi (American, 1874-1971). It mainly was comprised of French and Indonesian textiles, but also included two unusual velvet panels printed with pre-Columbian bird motifs and other forms. The design itself is rather simple and contains two vertical...
1990-2-1
Addition By Subtraction
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. Lella Vignelli has spent a lifetime as a designer examining the ongoing expressions of pure, modern form. Working in collaboration with her (late) husband, Massimo, at the eponymous Vignelli Associates,...