Jack Lenor Larsen is known for being one of the most prolific textile craftsmen of the later twentieth century, creating a unique range of both woven and printed textiles. What is lesser known is that Larsen was also the designer of wallcoverings, creating some of the first wallcoverings for New York wallpaper studio Karl Mann Associates, with whom Larsen happened to share a brownstone. Baroque Stripe, an irregular stripe pattern that undulates and whips around, was one of his earliest patterns. When printed in bright red and hot pink the colorway creates visions of flames whipping about. The design became a classic and ten years later was still being printed. The museum collection also contains a wallpaper sample book produced by Karl Mann in 1969 which contains samples of Baroque Stripe in five colorways, including the original red and hot pink. While papers of this intensity were usually installed to create a focal wall, apparently Vogue would have none of that and featured an interior showing this paper on three walls as well as the ceiling.
Larsen frequently made use of irregular or “broken” stripe patterns in his woven fabrics. Here he has let his imagination run wild with exaggerated curves and spikes, feeling very much in the Baroque tradition. The bold pattern and intense colors seem more characteristic of the late 1960s or 1970s, which may explain why this pattern had such lasting appeal.
Baroque Stripe was from the Celebration Collection of wallpapers designed by Larsen for Karl Mann which included a total of five patterns. While not all of the patterns were this bold each did possess a strong graphic quality. This was followed up by a second collection for Karl Mann called Chapter 2.
Baroque Stripe can be viewed in the Immersion Room at Cooper Hewitt, where the design can be seen on the wall and in repeat.