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!

Subscribe to Cooper-Hewitt's Object of the Day by Email

Bad Things Come in Large Packages

Posted by Erin Gillis, on Thursday February 06, 2014

The color palette of contrasting red, black and white symbolized Russia’s Communist Revolution and represent the polarities in ideologies between the Socialist Reds and the Whites of the aristocracy. This Constructivist theory of art as political message was brilliantly depicted in El Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites With The Red Wedge, 1919.

poster, graphic design, advertising, Socialism, Russian Constructivism, Communism, Poland, Russia, red

Will the real Esther please stand up?

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday February 05, 2014

This firescreen or overdoor is based on the 1738 painting La Toilette d'Esther by Jean-François de Troy (French, 1679-1752). This wallpaper is an almost exact replication of the original oil painting by de Troy. The manufacturer has used about 40 printed colors to capture the lushness of the original painting with all its luxurious textiles. Each printed color required about 5 different shades to create this sense of depth. As this is a wood block print, each different color required a separate hand-carved woodblock.

wallpaper, firescreen, overdoor, Esther, Jean-Francois de Troy

Celebrating a new church

Posted by Jennifer Johnson, on Tuesday February 04, 2014

Julia Ann Nivers’ sampler features a townscape beneath three alphabets and a religious verse, enclosed in a border of stylized strawberries. Of the buildings depicted on the sampler, only the Hopewell Presbyterian Church can be identified. Construction on the Gothic Revival building, which still stands today in Julia’s hometown of Crawford, New York, began in 1831. The first services were held there in 1832, which may have been why Julia chose to highlight the church on her 1833 sampler.

samplers, Julis Ann Nivers, Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Gothic Revival

Art in Metal: The Modernist Jewelry of Greenwich Village’s Art Smith

Posted by Abby Bangser, on Monday February 03, 2014

Joel and Ethan Cohen’s movie that is in theaters now, Inside Llewyn Davis, sets much of its story around the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. From 1946-1979, over on 140 West Fourth Street, the African-American jewelry designer, Art Smith (American, born in Cuba, 1917-1982), fashioned modernist pieces from simple metals that achieved new expressions in shape and form.

bracelet, earrings, Art Smith, Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, Duke Ellington, Greewich Village, Margot Gayle, Eleanor Roosevelt

Visual Verbal Wit

Posted by Gabrielle Golenda, on Sunday February 02, 2014

The ITF Internationale Tentoonstelling op Filmgebied (International film exhibition) poster is an unusual advertisement. The subject of the poster - an educational exhibition on the history of film, new technologies, screening (all film types including the avant-garde) and all other facets to the world of film – is reflected in the poster’s execution.

Piet Zwart, poster, graphic design, film, typography

The Father of Swedish Modern Design

Posted by Emily Shapiro, on Saturday February 01, 2014

When I think of modern design, a joyful outburst of color and pattern is not what springs to mind. Instead, I imagine an all-white room decorated with highly functional, minimalist chairs and couches. Everything is simple and streamlined, in sharp, crisp lines and primary colors.

Scandinavian modern design, Josef Frank, Svenkst Tenn

Waste Basket Boutique

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Friday January 31, 2014

In March of 1966, Scott Paper Company created the first paper dress as a promotional ad gimmick to help sell their product. To receive their newest paper fashion, customers simply mailed in a coupon from a Scott product along with a small fee (around $1.25) and in return they would receive for their paper dress. This advertising gimmick quickly and unexpectedly caught on with consumers.

paper fashions, Mars Manufacturing Company, Mod, Pop

Dressing the Interior: Philip Schwarz’s Novelties

Posted by Mae Colburn, on Thursday January 30, 2014

Novelties in Laces for Furniture and Decoration is a set of one hundred and fifty color lithographic prints depicting over one hundred and ninety unique tassel and trim designs. The designs incorporate gimp, braid, galloon, bows, flies, and bobbles. Color reveals details of ply, twist, pile, and luster, and highlights and lowlights provide a sense of dimension. The prints are housed in a custom storage box bearing the date 1880. Also in the box is the leather-bound presentation folder, pictured above on the left.

tassels, passementerie, Pattern books

Best Laid Planes: The Jewelry of Georg Dobler

Posted by Adriane Dalton, on Wednesday January 29, 2014

The works of German metalsmith Georg Dobler are imbued with geometry; both in the construction of the forms and in the visual relationship between the forms and the body. Dobler received his masters in goldsmithing in 1979 in Pforzheim and thereafter founded an atelier with fellow goldsmith Winfried Krüger.[1].  In recent years he has worked as a Professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, Germany.

Winfried Krüger, Pforzheim, Hildesheim, Germany, Paul Derrez, goldsmithing, metalsmith, acrylic lacquer, steel wire

A Modern Masters Series dress

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Tuesday January 28, 2014

This shirtwaist day dress was designed by celebrated fashion designer Claire McCardell, who is noted for her important contribution to “The American Look” of casual and active sportswear for women. It was made from a printed cotton fabric, Parade Sauvage, designed by Fernand Léger, one of the most prominent, prolific, and influential modern artists of the early twentieth century.

dress, Claire McCardell, Fernand Léger, Parade Sauvage, American Fabrics, Fuller Fabrics, Modern Masters Series