Susan Brown

A Hugo Dreyfuss textile

Hugo Dreyfuss was a textile designer and printer, and the business partner of the furniture designer Vladimir Kagan for ten years, from 1950 to 1960. The two met through the artist Emanuel Romano, the brother of Dreyfuss's wife Beatrice Glicenstein. Kagan's business was a family operation, with his father overseeing the factory, and his mother running the small shop on East 65th Street. Dreyfuss's investment in the company enabled them to move to a larger, more prestigious location at 125 East 57th Street. Kagan-Dreyfuss Inc. expanded their range of products and began producing a catalog.
Hugo Dreyfuss, textile, Vladimir Kagan

A visually dynamic textile

The Bauer Print Collection, by German designer Wolf Bauer for Knoll Textiles International, was part of a new push for prints under the guidance of Barbara Rodes, the head of textiles in Europe and later head of textiles for all of Knoll, after Florence Knoll retired in 1965.
Knoll Textiles, Wolf Bauer, Pausa AG, Silk Screen


Gretl and Leo Wollner met and married in the late 1940s while studying textile design under Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill, founder of the fashion division of the Wiener Werkstätte; for several years after, Leo worked for architect Josef Hoffmann. Through the 1950s the couple became known for their work with Pausa AG—a German printer known for innovative, high quality designs.
Knoll Textiles, Gretl Wollner, Leo Wollner, Pausa AG, screenprint

Industrial Espionage

Turkey red refers to a brilliant scarlet dye for cotton, or more accurately, a process for dyeing cotton red. As suggested by the variety of names used --Turkey red, Adrianople red, rouge des Indes—the technique was practiced throughout the eastern Mediterranean, but was completely unknown in Europe before the eighteenth century. In order to discover the secret process, textile firms in England and France began sending industrial spies to Turkey and Greece.
dyeing, Turkey red, sample books, industrial espionage

Hi-tech Embroidery

Embroidery has an unfairly old-fashioned image, probably because of the pious verses of the 19th century associating needlework with womanly virtue. So when we were developing the exhibition Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance, we were especially excited to find this embroidered implant. It may look like a doily, but it is a serious piece of biomedical engineering. Manufactured by Pearsall’s Ltd.
biomedical engineering, chemical lace, embroidery

Summer Harvest

The French painter Raoul Dufy is best known for his colorful scenes of Parisian life, and the light, urbane feeling that characterizes his paintings carries through to his woven silk designs. But his block-printed linen textiles show a different set of influences. The depiction of the cutting blade on this combine, as well as the propeller-like feeling of the sheaves of wheat, may have been inspired by the Italian futurists, with their interest in speed and motion.
Raoul Dufy, Leon Bonnat, Guillaume Apollinaire, woodcuts, Paul Poiret, Petite Usine, Wiener Werkstätte, futurism

One window, three curtains

On April 22 of this year, the Economic and Social Council Chamber (ECOSOC) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York was re-inaugurated after a renovation project. The original interior furnishings of the chamber were a gift from the nation of Sweden, and were designed by architect Sven Markelius. The focal point of the room is a 72 by 23 foot window facing the East River. Since the chamber’s opening in 1952, this window has been the site of three spectacular curtains by Swedish designers.
Marianne Richter, Studio Märta Måås-Fjetterström, Sven Markelius, Ann Edholm, The United Nations

Silk and the City

The cityscape is a natural subject for textile design—grid-based, repetitive and boldly geometric-- well, at least Manhattan after the skyscraper boom of the 1920s and 30s. The Museum has numerous designs with the city as inspiration, including designs by Philip Johnson, Alexander Girard, Lydia Bush Brown, and Arthur Sanderson & Sons. (If you have a piece of Manhattan by Ruth Reeves you’d like to donate, we’d love to hear from you!)
Clayton Knight, cityscapes, Manhattan, Stehli Silks, Kneeland Green, Edward Steichen, Helen Wallis, jazz, illustration

The Union Forever

Today marks the 148th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which closed “With malice toward none, with charity for all… let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds...” This delicate design of floral wreaths encircling womanly hands clasped in friendship seems to embody the ideal of reconciliation set forth by the President as he entered his second term of office, just a few weeks before his assassination.
Abraham Lincoln, abolition, Civil War, campaigns, Lincoln’s second inaugural

Flights of Fancy

“Les coquecigrues” features in several French expressions, such as “á la venue des coqucigrues,” which has the meaning and something of the feeling of “when pigs fly.” But this enchanting fabric suggests another expression, “regarder voler les coquecigrues,&rdqu
Oberkampf, coquecigrues, Mme. Jules Mallet