Gaetano Pesce was trained as an architect in Italy, but has also practiced in Paris and currently works in the United States. An extremely successful and influential designer, Pesce has established a reputation as an architect who is opposed to specialization. He has experimented, in his words, in “all fields of creative activity.” His multidisciplinary approach has led him into many areas of industrial design and art. Pesce’s designs for textiles represent one of his forays into another medium and are quite rare. He produced a small collection of furnishing fabrics, wall hangings, and carpets in 1968 for Expansion in Bologna. In 1970, he produced several printed velvets for another Italian company, JSA.

This screen-printed velvet was produced for Collezione Expansion in 1970. The strong graphic design, simple form, and pure colors of this textile relate to Pesce’s Up series of armchairs introduced at the 1969 Milan Furniture Show. The museum has in its collection an example of the Up chair that closely relates to this textile.


Matilda McQuaid is the Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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