Object of the Day

Tropical Flowers
During a routine trade trip to Pondicherry India in 1735, French naval officer Antoine de Beaulieu was both enamored and mystified by the Indians’ techniques for dyeing cloth. He endeavored to meticulously record each of the eleven distinct steps, including a sample of fabric at every stage of the process. His book was published in...
Fan design with a landscape filled with Italian ruins
Putting the Fan in Fantasy
From the eighteenth century, painted fans were one of the most popular souvenirs for any grand tourist visiting Italy. In this period, fans were part of the complex network of courtly behavior and aristocratic social codes, and they were also indispensable elements for coquetry. Such fans were made with a variety of materials such as...
Entitled “Salome,” this unusual wallcovering was manufactured c.1967 by Bob Mitchell Designs and the pattern was created by the man himself. The design was much appreciated when it was originally produced, and was featured in a collection of the best of California Design curated by the Pasadena Art Museum in 1968. The pop-art inspired floral...
Textile, "Vegetable Tree", designed 1944; this printing 1981 
Medium: linen Technique: screen printed on plain weave Label: screen printed linen. 1982-60-1.
Manufactured by Svenskt Tenn Designed by Josef Frank, 1982-60-1
Chart topping objects in 2014
It is the end of another year and there’s been many changes at Cooper Hewitt. We’ve installed new galleries and one part of the new infrastructure are new interactive experiences through which to explore our collection as it gets digitized. As collections become available through these new interfaces, the objects that people explore or want...
View of a man wearing a turban
Heads up!
This study by the prolific French artist, François Boucher, offers a rich insight into the practice of collecting drawings in eighteenth-century France. The head of the turbaned man is sketched with black and red chalk, with the white of the paper used as a third shade. The sheet features the annotation, “Boucher” in the lower right...
Ceiling-hung light, the segmented artichoke-like form with copper leaves supported on metal framework.
What Lies Beneath The Artichoke?
Poul Henningsen’s childhood was illuminated by the glow of gas lamps. When electricity arrived in his small Danish hometown and left his neighbor’s windows ablaze with the stark glare of electric light bulbs, Henningsen began to grapple with a design quandary that would come to define his entire career. He was determined to calm the...
Medallion a la Mode
This sidewall is a lovely example of a mid-nineteenth century “medallion-style” wallpaper, and represents an oddly specific niche in the world of fashionable Victorian wallcoverings. Picturesque vignettes of a harborside town show seagulls and tiny little people busily living their lives against backdrops of windmills, sailing ships and even a chateau. The vignettes are arranged...
Russian shawl border
A Uniquely Two-Sided Shawl
This distinctive, fully reversible shawl border was handwoven in Russia in the early nineteenth century to be part of a Kashmir-style shawl. It was woven such that the intricate floral design is identical on both sides of the fabric. Kashmir shawls were essential fashion accessories for stylish women of means in nineteenth-century Europe. Initially imported...
A group of three children in the center of a grassy lawn with a large shadow of a swastika looming over them. One of the boy stands while holding a toy plane while another in a paper hat holds up an American flag. A girl sits in front of them, holding a doll. In the lower margin is the text, "Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them / Buy WAR BONDS."
Throwing Some Serious Shade
In the midst of World War II, the war effort was reliant upon the purchase of war bonds by the American population. In 1942, the military could not hold off the encroaching armies without the support of Americans. Graphic designer Lawrence Beall Smith dramatically presented the necessity of war bonds to the public by showing...