Object of the Day

Discover a different object from the Museum’s collection every day of the week!

Museum curators, conservators, and educators, as well as design enthusiasts like our teen Design Scholars, docents, and Master’s students, are sharing their favorite objects from Cooper-Hewitt’s incredible collection.

Many of these objects will be featured in the expanded collection galleries when Cooper-Hewitt reopens in 2014. Until then, “Object of the Day” is your uniquely-curated corner of the Museum!

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Harmonious Line

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Saturday April 06, 2013

With its sinuous curving line, asymmetrical composition, and integration of colors, forms, and lettering, this poster by the Belgian industrial designer, Hendrikus Van de Velde, ranks among the icons of the Art Nouveau movement.  In 1898, the General Manager of the Tropon firm, manufacturers of a health supplement developed from egg whites, commissioned Van de Velde to design posters, packaging and other graphic design pieces for the company.  Rather than illustrate people consuming the food additive, Van de Velde enticed viewers’ attention by showing egg whites separating f

Hendrikus Van de Velde, poster, lithograph, Art Nouveau, Belgium

How Can You Not Love That Glove?

Posted by Ethan Robey, on Friday April 05, 2013

How can you not love that glove? It takes up nearly half the image, so bold yet enigmatic. The gloved hand and the face of the exuberant young woman are likely separate images, brought together—brought into meaning with each other—purely by their adjacency. The photomontage does not quite read as a coherent image, but as a set of concentric ideas, an image more potent than a single photograph of both objects could capture.

Herbert Matter, Swiss graphic design, poster, photomontage, Switzerland, Norway, Engelberg, Trubsee, Herbert Bayer, travel

Rhythm

Posted by Kira Eng-Wilmot, on Thursday April 04, 2013

Rhythm (1972) is like a visual representation of the movement of sound—the pulsation of music or a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram. In fact, it is the designers’ graphic interpretation of a meandering stream, inspired by the Indiana woodland. This feeling of movement is a product of the design concept promoted by Elenhank Designers, Inc.

Elenhank, screenprint, curtain, Indiana, textiles
Rhythm. Designed by Elenhank Designers Inc.

Informal Living

Posted by Cynthia E. Smith, on Wednesday April 03, 2013

I sold an almost complete set of chartreuse curry colored American Modern dinnerware two summers ago. It was one of the first items the antique dealers bought when we were clearing out the attic in anticipation of a move. I loathed parting with it because it represented a unique time in American domestic life when Russel Wright was trailblazing “good design for everyone.”

Russel Wright, Steubenville Pottery Company, American Modern, table ware

Poiret's liberating plates

Posted by Jen Cohlman, on Tuesday April 02, 2013

This fashion plate from Les Robes De Paul Poiret (1908) is one of eleven illustrations often credited with liberating women from the body constricting corsets popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras (1837-1910). Dress reformers had advocated for classical-style high waistlines as early as the 1880s, but it was Poiret’s beautifully commissioned album that most successfully promoted this idea, inspiring a revolution in fashion.

fashion plates, Paul Poiret, pochoir, Paul Iribe, rare books
Two women in evening gowns with high waists, draping fabric, and vibrant colors of orange and blue.

Art Chantry's Hands-On Approach

Posted by Kadie Yale, on Monday April 01, 2013

Protests take on a variety of forms, from petitions to sit-ins and sign-wielding on the streets. In 1983, over a million people assembled in New York City's Central Park for the largest anti-nuclear war protest to date. Beginning the same year, and continuing until 1989, protesters in Seattle showed their opposition to nuclear weapons in a less traditional manner—they hosted a dance-off.

Art Chantry, peace, MOMA, poster, graphic design, dance, protest, newspapers
Give Peace a Dance by Art Chantry

I Wish I Had Been There!!

Posted by Elizabeth Broman, on Sunday March 31, 2013

Between 1909 and 1948, the Grand Palais near the Champs-Elysées in Paris featured  remarkable decorative interiors which housed automotive, aeronautical and many other types of trade shows. For the buildings and other structures of the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, decorative lighting helped create a unity among the diverse architectures.

lighting, André Granet, Smithsonian Libraries, Décors Éphémères, fountains, fireworks, lighting exhibitions, Grand Palais, lumière, Colonial Exposition of 1931
Grand Palais Aeronautic and Automotive exhibitions 1909 and 1938

Branded in Early Twentieth-Century Vienna

Posted by Rebecca McNamara, on Saturday March 30, 2013

Today’s luxury designers sometimes find unique ways to brand their products without a label—Christian Louboutin’s red sole, Bottega Veneta’s woven purse—while others create logo-patterns, as Louis Vuitton has done. Many mid-range product lines, like those of Apple or Starbucks, proclaim their name loudly with simple, meaningful logos. While it may seem that logos and brand identities today are most concerned with profits, the bottom line was not always the reason behind marking one’s goods.

Werkstätte, Koloman Moser, silver, silver-plated, box, hallmarks, rose, vienna
Image of box

Design for Corsage Ornament

Posted by Sarah Donahue, on Friday March 29, 2013

 

Rene Lalique, Siegfried Bing, Hector Guimard, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Art Nouveau, Faberge, Art Deco, Glass, jewelry design

A Fabric with a Touch of Tomorrow

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Thursday March 28, 2013

America 1957.  Eisenhower was the President. Elvis was the King. And Ford Motor Company introduced its new 1957 automobiles, a “new kind of Ford with a touch of tomorrow.”  The new Fords were wider, longer, lower, and zippier.

Ford Motor Company, Automobile Design, Fairlane 500 Club, Town Victoria, Marianne Strengell

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