wallpaper

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1981-17-1-b lo res
A Transition in Trends
Vertically stacked archways and medallions made of Moorish tiles frame views of architecture from far off lands in this sidewall from the last quarter of the nineteenth-century. An Indian Gazebo, Turkish Mosque, French Chateau and even an onion-domed Russian church all make appearances. Palm trees, flocks of storks, waterfalls and elegant stone staircases add to...
1956-5-5
Queen Anne’s Lace
Neutral tones and subtle pattern define this mid-century Scandinavian wallpaper. Large, airy blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace float like fluffy fireworks on a light gray ground. The larger blooms are composed of hundreds of tiny white flowers supported by a framework of dark gray stems. As in nature, a single bright red flower marks the...
1956-5-4
I Slån, Slån you?
Gerd Göran’s Slån wallpaper design shows pale blue dots arranged in rows within an irregular, light-gray net on white ground. The pattern is at first reminiscent of bubble wrap, or maybe even caviar, if you’re feeling fancy. Swedish speakers, however, might realize that the name of the paper hints at the designer’s inspiration. Slån (sloe,...
1968-111-10
The Fox and the Crow
The fables attributed to the ancient Greek slave, Aesop, have remained relevant for thousands of years and been depicted by countless generations. Here we see an old favorite, “The Fox and the Crow,” retold through the magic of wallpaper. This paper was made in France, c. 1840, and the design is block-printed on white satin...
48381_4b9ac6dec70f6909_b[1]
In Line
In Line, a wallpaper designed by prolific illustrator Ilonka Karasz, appears here as pages from a 1948 sample book, which originally contained the work of forty leading contemporary designers. Square blocks, each composed of a creatively arranged, continuous zigzag line, are stacked up like Tetris tiles on a dark-eggplant colored ground. The blocks are rendered...
89957_d15f85479e535a57_b[1]
Watercolor Wallpaper
Many of the wallcoverings in the Cooper Hewitt’s collection were created by designers better known for their work in the fine arts. This sidewall, c. 1927, was designed by Charles Burchfield, a much-loved American watercolorist. A mint-green trellis embellished with cross-hatching divides the panel into regular diamond-shaped cells. Each cell contains a stencil-like image of...
48828_5386835beeb31d18_b[1]
Has Anyone Seen Bertha?
This is one of those novelty wallpapers designed to put a smile on your face. The water theme clearly designates this as a bathroom paper, and what a way to start and end your day. The humor abounds, sometimes in-your-face obvious and other times more subtle, which is one of the signs of a good...
50152_7ec42b9a1ccecb75_b[1]
Quiet Cubism
Collections of miscellaneous objects in pale blue and gray are grouped in floating clusters on a ballet-pink background. In the lower right-hand corner of the panel, a paper fan floats towards a pile of shapes that I choose to interpret as a pitcher, an upside-down lampshade, a vase of flowers, some lemons, a book with...
89893_6a18dc1d6641571d_b[1]
Forest Patterns
Forest Patterns was designed by modernist painter Arnold Blanch for Associated American Artists in 1953. It was produced by United Wallpaper, Inc., one of the largest American wallpaper producers of the mid-twentieth century. Blanch renders the leaves as graphic deconstructions of botanical illustrations. The veins and stems of the leaves are drawn in straight black...