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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Take a Flying Leap

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Thursday January 02, 2014

René Lalique has long been considered the most brilliant and original French Art Nouveau designer of jewelry and glass.  His lifelong study of nature in drawings and photographs including wildflowers and rare floral species, animals and insects such as swans, bats, birds, and dragonflies provided the unusual repertory for his jewelry and accessories.  In place of traditional gemstones, Lalique developed a technique of incorporating non-precious stones including opals with enamel on materials such as ivory and horn that changed the look of nineteenth-century jewelry.

Rene Lalique, Art Nouveau, drawing, jewelry, fish, comb, nature

Bottoms up!

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Wednesday January 01, 2014

These simple, sculptural goblets, named Paro (“I protect” in Italian), were designed by Italian industrial designer and design educator, Achille Castiglioni. A major figure in twentieth-century design, Castiglioni was known for bringing a curious and inventive sensibility to solving design problems and investigating materials and processes. Paro’s cleverly designed versatile form is reversible, having both deep and shallow cone-shaped bowls suitable for either red or white wine.

goblet, Glass, Achille Castiglione, red wine, white wine, blown glass, oxidization

Festive Foil?

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Tuesday December 31, 2013

The holiday season brings out the idea at least of festive parties, and, to some, that means putting on fancy clothes and jewelry.  The idea of glittering adornment to dazzle goes back to antiquity and gold has been a constant. However, innovative use of new materials, so popular now, is not new. The choice of materials is ever evolving. 

jewelry, aluminum, gold, Empress Eugenie, Queen Victoria, Crystal Palace, innovation, demi-parure, brooch, earrings

A carriage fit for an Earl

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Monday December 30, 2013

Roger Palmer, the first Earl of Castlemaine, was an English writer, diplomat and courtier who sat in the House of Commons. Palmer was a devout Roman Catholic and a staunch supporter of the Stuart Monarchy. Palmer’s loyalty was so committed that he even  acquiesced to the appointment of his wife, Barbara Villiers as Charles II’s favored mistress. It is in honor of his wife’s services in the King’s bedchamber that Palmer received his title as Earl of Castlemaine, and not for his service in the King’s court.

Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine, england, diplomacy, travel, transportation, treason, carriage, ostentation, print, engraving, baroque

One Woman’s Fancy is another’s Necessaire.

Posted by Sarah Coffin, on Sunday December 29, 2013

This charming little object-an étui or case, is also called a necessaire.

étui, necessaire, scissors, rococo, Diana, accessory, enamel

An Egyptian Story, enriched with personal narrative

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Saturday December 28, 2013

The holiday season is a special time of year to reflect on family and… jewels! Hemmerle’s Egyptian Story bangle is a particularly exceptional jewel. Not only does it evoke the firm’s distinctive voice, showcasing innovative techniques and material combinations to create a bold, modern jewel enriched with cultural references, but it provides a bit of personal narrative about the fourth-generation family-run atelier.

Hemmerle, jewelry, Egyptian, jewels

Natural Beauty

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Friday December 27, 2013

At the time of Alphonse Mucha’s birth in present day Czech Republic, the struggle for independence from the Hapsburg Empire was reaching a boiling point. The people in this region had a strong nationalist consciousness and were fighting for greater political and cultural freedom. The heavily political atmosphere in which Mucha grew up continued to influence his work throughout his career.

Alphonse Maria Mucha, textile design, drawing, flowers, Art Nouveau, C.G. Forrer

Before Betty and Veronica, There Was the Gibson Girl

Posted by Shannon Murphy, on Thursday December 26, 2013

One simply cannot ignore her sultry eyes, knowing smile and beauty. Bachelor’s Wall Paper features the charming Gibson Girl, the fictional New Woman illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Gibson Girl was America’s first commercial female icon. She was the idyllic American woman: full of grace and class, with just the right amount of confidence and charm. Her stories appeared in magazine illustrations, and her image exploded on the commercial market.

Charles Dana Gibson, Gibson Girl, wallpaper, M.H. Birge and Sons Co., New Woman

Rudolph Popping Through the Skies

Posted by Elizabeth Broman, on Wednesday December 25, 2013

What makes Pop-Ups POP??

pop-up books, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus adn airplane flying through the sky

Historic Revivalism Meets French Art Deco

Posted by Carly Lewis, on Tuesday December 24, 2013

In design history as in art history, works are often organized into distinct chronological styles or movements. Such a rigid framework tends to neglect a certain natural fluidity inherent in the evolution of style. For example, 1920s French designs cannot always be simply defined by such broad strokes as Art Deco, Moderne, or Cubism. Many examples from the era notoriously blur those lines, like this woven silk from 1925. This design is the product of a successful dialogue among multiple influences.

Andre Mare, La Compagnie des Arts Français, Louis Sue, Art Deco