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Cushion cover, ca. 1900, England, embroidered by May Morris (British, 1862–1938), silk embroidery on linen plain weave, Gift of Mrs. Curtice Hitchcock, 1975-19-1
The Titan’s Daughter
May Morris will forever be in the shadow of her famous father William Morris, the chief protagonist of the English Arts and Crafts movement, and of her mother, the Pre-Raphaelite beauty Jane Burden. Yet she was an accomplished artist in her own right, a fact evidenced by the skillful design and craftsmanship of this cushion...
91454_4ad6fbc04ff4d62d_b[1]
Charles Burchfield’s Modern Wallpaper
Charles Burchfield is one of the best known American watercolorists of the 20th century, painting urban street scenes as well as more rural landscapes in a rather sullen fashion. It is less well known that he designed wallpaper, working for the M. H. Birge and Sons company in Buffalo, New York, from 1921 until 1929,...
2016-5-12
The Modern Chair. Redefined.
The Embryo Chair was designed in 1988 by Australian designer Marc Newson, and has come to be seen as a signature object of his organic style. The chair is not only stylish and provocative in appearance, its one-piece form and simple legs belie a sophisticated construction that is the result of Newson’s technical accomplishment early...
1975-32-14
Under the Sea
In July of 1913, Arthur Sanders, a gaffer at Tiffany Studios, was sent on a dream of a business trip. He traveled to Hamilton, Bermuda to study marine life through a glass-bottomed boat. Sanders observed the beauty of the underwater world so that he could later reproduce it in glass when back in Corona, New...
Hand woven sample for wall covering, Designed by Anni Albers, American, b. Germany, 1899–1994
Practical, Spiritual, Useful, and Beautiful…
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. “We use materials to satisfy our practical needs and our spiritual ones as well. We have useful things and beautiful things – equipment and works of art.” [1] Artist, weaver,...
1956-76-6-a_c
Re-framing Life
Architect-designer Hector Guimard earned recognition for his architectural optimism but garnered additional acclaim for his designs intended to occupy the spaces that he created. Working during the end of the nineteenth and early twenteieth centuries in the organic language of Art Nouveau, Guimard approached his designs as part of a larger artistic whole, a Gesamtkunstwerk,...
Sample, 1967, produced by Jack Lenor Larsen Incorporated
Colorful Curves
Jack Lenor Larsen, one of the most influential textile designers of the 20th century, is noted for his pioneering use of innovative methods and materials. Bojangles, designed for the 1967 collection The Butterflies, is made from Caprolan stretch nylon designed to conform to the rounded, organic shapes of 1960’s furniture. Larsen believed that pattern should...
1971-66-2
Floating Colors
Although this vase exemplifies a mid-twentieth century organic style of modernism, it comes from a glass factory with a long tradition of using historical production techniques, located on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy, an important glass-blowing center since the middle ages. In the mid-nineteenth century, Italian lawyer Antonio Salviati developed an interest in glass after...
1997-11-3
On a High Note
I recently enjoyed a visit to American craftsman Wharton Esherick’s former studio and home, now operating as a museum, on the top of Valley Forge Mountain in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  Exteriors and interiors on the site are amusingly playful yet impressively clever and upon closer examination, carefully calculated. There is barely a straight line in the whole design. Instead...