Object of the Month - February 2012: Knoll Textiles



a href="http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/view/objects/asitem/id/192804">Fibra. Designed by Eszter Haraszty for Knoll Textiles. United States, 1953. Screenprinted linen. Gift of Larry Weinberg, 2011-20-1. Photo: Matt Flynn

For over seventy years, Knoll has been a leader in modern workplace furnishings and textiles. Cooper-Hewitt recently added forty pieces of Knoll textiles and furniture to the collection, most of which were recently seen in the exhibition Knoll Textiles: 1945–2010 at the Bard Graduate Center Museum in New York. Earl Martin, one of the curators, is a graduate of the Master’s Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design offered jointly by Cooper-Hewitt and Parsons The New School for Design. Recognizing that many of the privately owned pieces were museum-worthy, Martin initiated contact with the lenders to suggest donations to appropriate museums, including Cooper-Hewitt. One of the textiles, Fibra, was one of Knoll’s most successful print designs, remaining in production for sixteen years. To create the design, Eszter Haraszty, head of Knoll Textiles, asked photographer Erich Hartmann to photograph the wire heddles of designer Evelyn Hill’s loom. The photos were enlarged and printed in the vivid color combinations for which Haraszty was known. Another textile, Omahar, by Francisca Reichardt, is a technical tour-de-force, requiring fourteen screens to print its 30 1⁄2-inch repeat. Omahar was included in the 1971 Knoll au Louvre exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where it won a certificate of recognition.



Omahar. Designed by Francisca Reichardt for Knoll Textiles. Printed by Pausa AG. Germany, ca. 1971. Screen-printed cotton. Gift of Carol S. Connell, 2011-26-2. Photo: Matt Flynn