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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A Busman’s Holiday

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Sunday February 24, 2013

Winslow Homer and his brother Charles Savage Homer Jr.

Winslow Homer, Charles Savage Homer Jr., Quebec, Canada, fishing, Lake St. George, watercolor

Noah's Ark

Posted by Alison Charny, on Saturday February 23, 2013

In this ornate design made of cut paper, contemporary artist Ernst Oppliger depicts three pairs of couples in windows at the top of a towering structure, while the windows below contain silhouettes of many exotic animals, including elephants, giraffes, and ostriches.

Ernst Oppliger, cut paper, silhouette, Switzerland, religious subjects, animals

Nothing's Flocking

Posted by Joanna Burgess, on Friday February 22, 2013

Christina Malman was born in Southhampton, England in 1912. When she was two year’s old she moved to New York City, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life. Christina began her career as a cover artist for the “New Yorker” magazine in the mid 1930’s. Over the course of twenty years, she designed numerous covers, 34 of which were actually published by the New Yorker.  She also drew more than 500 "spot" illustrations, many of which were used in the “Goings on About Town” section of the magazine.

New Yorker, magazine cover, Audobon, bird watching, satire

Back to the Futurists

Posted by Stephen H. Van Dyk, on Wednesday February 20, 2013

 Les mots en liberté futuristes (Futurist Words in Freedom), published in 1919, has an ingenious typographic design and an explosive layout.   Its different styles and sizes of typeface defied traditional rules of structure and punctuation and heralded a revolution in modern visual communication.

Marinetti, Filippo Tommasco, futurism, typography, graphic design
Typographic design by Marinetti

Chicken Point Cabin

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Tuesday February 19, 2013

Tom Kundig, Olson Kundig Architects, Architecture, drawing, Idaho, vacation, hand-crafted

The Lure of the Peacock: Iridescence and Immortality

Posted by Sarah Coffin, on Monday February 18, 2013

Objects have many stories but this vase connects different cultures and different periods in more ways than most.  When it appeared in Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730-2008 at CHNDM, the Peacock Vase represented with its organic, sinuous forms the re-emergence of a curvilinear aesthetic in the Art Nouveau era of the Rococo style created in the 18th century.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany glass, iridescence, peacock, Loetz, India, Iran, aesthetic, William de Morgan

Studied Beauty: Textile Panel by Ethel Stein

Posted by Lucy Commoner, on Sunday February 17, 2013

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is fortunate to have in its collection three textiles designed and woven by Ethel Stein, a preeminent twentieth and twenty-first century American artist and weaver.  Stein’s early design influences include studying in the 1940s with the Bauhaus artist and designer, Josef Albers (1888-1976) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Albers .

Ethel Stein, ikat, damask, Josef Albers, Bauhaus, weaver

1965/66 Season Poster for Municipal Theater, Basel, with Weekly Program

Posted by Niko Arranz, on Saturday February 16, 2013

A column, cello, cowboy-looking boot and ballet’s foot represent the drama of the Municipal Theater in Basel, Switzerland, at the time of this event. The poster, made by a freelance designer named Armin Hofmann, was created for the famous theater in Basel for their latest performance. Hofmann believed that black and white photography gives a better visual of colors than colored photography. The black and white photo was meant to bring emotion, life and imagination of colors to the average person.

poster, theater, Basil, boot, cello, ballet, column

Back in the USSR

Posted by Elizabeth Broman, on Friday February 15, 2013

This extremely rare trade catalog from 1940, in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Library, represents the output of 10 state-owned ceramics factories from all over the Ukraine in small towns and villages after industry was nationalized in 1918.

Ukraine, ceramics, tableware, prpoganda, Smithsonian Libraries, political symbols, folk art, embroidery, Soviet Union, National Design Library
Vases with portraits of Lenin and other Communist leaders


Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Thursday February 14, 2013

Color was a central element in all of Verner Panton’s designs for interiors and furniture, and in particular, textiles, which became his most important vehicle for color in the futurist environments for which he is best known.  Born in Denmark, Panton lived and worked most of his life in Basel, Switzerland, where by the mid-1950s he was an internationally acclaimed interior architect and designer.  He studied at the Technical College from 1944-47 followed by architecture studies at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhage