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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The Book-Cover Designs of Alice C. Morse

Posted by Karin Zonis, on Wednesday March 26, 2014

This sketch for a book cover by Alice Cordelia Morse (1863-1961) is a far cry from what book covers look like today. With its organic forms and handmade attributes, My Study Fire is an example of the late 19th-century characteristic Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau style in America.

Alice Cordelia Morse, bookcover, book jacket, drawing, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouvea, Tiffany & Company, John LaFarge, Cooper Union, Hamilton Wright Mabie

Some Thorny Wallpaper

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Tuesday March 25, 2014

I have always been drawn to this wallpaper design. It is a beautifully rendered stripe pattern created using differently-scaled photo enlargements of rose stems. The varying thickness of the stems and the color contrast create a wonderful flow to the design, and while it is a strong design it’s not too heavy. One thing I find so striking about this design is that it goes against the grain of the usual wallpaper connotations, which are welcoming, endearing, or charming. This is especially visible in the media, on movie sets, even cartoons.

wallpaper, Christine Tarkowski, rose, stems, thorn, stripe, screen print

Blond Curtain

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Monday March 24, 2014

The work of contemporary Dutch designer Nicolette Brunklaus is filled with narrative and imagination. She often manipulates photography to generate pattern and tell a story, whether printing a wooded forest scene on the interior of a lampshade, or, as in Blond Curtain, digitally printing long blond tendrils on velvet to create a curtain.

Nicolette Brunklaus, digital printing, velvet, photography

A Moderne Woman

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Sunday March 23, 2014

Virginia Hamill, one of the first American women in the field of industrial design, called herself a “decorative art consultant.” Under this broad title, she gained prominence as an exhibition organizer and designer, retail merchandiser, product stylist, and interior designer and educator. She was influential in her use of department store exhibitions to introduce European modernist design to mainstream American consumers. Hamill may be best known as the Executive Director of R.H.

Virginia Hamill, Jean George Theobald, tea, pewter, Industrial Design, modernism

Will Not Fade into the Background

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Saturday March 22, 2014

Compendium was part of the "Palladio 8 Collection" which contained 38 designs by 22 different designers. Geometric patterns dominated surface design in the 1960s and op art and pop art were major sources of inspiration. Op art created optical illusions by distorting patterns, and many patterns were created using design fragmentation, psychedelia or historic revivalism. For this design Newson fragmented the circle by chopping it, then rotating and printing in various shades of intense red, creating a strong visual disharmony.

wallpaper, op art, circle, red, Rosemary Newson

A Maternal Touch for Refugees

Posted by Carolina Valdes-Lora, on Friday March 21, 2014

At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the population of refugees increased rapidly. Among them were thousands of children who had evacuated to other European countries, such as the USSR and France, however, many stayed under the support of the Republican government of Spain. By 1937, government- funded housing welcomed refugee and orphaned communities. This poster most likely recognizes the Republic’s effort to promote residential support for children throughout the war.

poster, Spanish Civil War, Propoganda, spain, lithograph, Children, family, maternal, nurturing, refugee

At the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition

Posted by Mae Colburn, on Thursday March 20, 2014

California textile artist Lydia van Gelder (1911-2012) created this piece for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) in San Francisco. Having taken up weaving only several years before, her inclusion in the GGIE marks the beginning of a distinguished career as both an exhibiting artist and textile arts educator. Best known now for her contributions to the fiber art movement of the 1960s and 70's, it also serves as a unique reminder of her early engagement with the modernist aesthetics championed at the Exposition.

Lydia van Gelder, Golden Gate International Exposition, Dorothy Liebes

From the Loom to the Wall

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday March 19, 2014

In 1947 the Cooper Union received a sample book featuring the new wallpaper collection designed by Dorothy Liebes for United Wallpapers. The book contains eight different patterns with each shown in multiple colorways. The patterns are all based on the hand-loomed woven fabrics for which Liebes had become known. She introduced color and texture into her fabrics and incorporated unexpected materials such as rawhide, cellophane, bamboo strips and metal threads.

wallpaper, sample book, Dorothy Liebes, loom, embossed, textile, imitation

Ingenious Solutions: Irena Brynner's "Wrap Around" Earrings

Posted by Adriane Dalton, on Tuesday March 18, 2014

Born in 1917 in the remote Russian town of Vladivostak, Irena Brynner was raised in a tightly knit two family household. However, the families were dispersed in 1928 due to political upheaval that forced Brynner and her parents to relocate to Manchuria.[1] Brynner left Manchuria to study painting and sculpture in Lausanne, Switzerland but returned to her family in 1939.

Irena Brynner, jewelry, earrigns, gold

The Theater. Very Parco.

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Monday March 17, 2014

Eiko Ishioka was a prolific and revolutionary designer. She contributed enormously to the fields of art direction, graphic design, production, as well as costume design for film, theater and opera. Based in part on her innovative work for the Japanese cosmetic manufacturing company, Shiseido, Ishioka was hired as the chief art director for a new breed of Japanese department store called Parco. The establishment was centered on the philosophy that the Japanese youth needed a platform to establish their identity in connection with the rest of the world, particularly the West.

poster, graphic design, Japan, lithograph, Eiko Ishioka, Parco, shopping, theater, advertising