This fold out brochure is in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Library Special Collections. It’s accompanied by a price list and order form, created by manufacturer Steubenville Pottery Company of Steubenville, Ohio and dating between 1939 and 1959, promotes more than 30 pieces of American Modern dinnerware designed by industrial designer Russel Wright (1904-1976). Such items as dinner and salad plates, cups and saucers, a variety of small and serving bowls, platters, and casseroles, coffee sets with pots, creamer and sugar bowls, water pitchers, and a remarkable set of serving dishes for celery and gravy, are featured. Pieces ranged in price from $0.30 (saucer) to $4.50 (water pitcher) and were available in such colors as “Black Chutney”, “Chartreuse”, “Coral”, “White”, “Cedar Green” and “Granite Grey”. American Modern dinnerware, with its smooth, unornamented curvilinear shapes in distinctive shades of blues, greens, grays, corals, blacks and yellows, greatly appealed to many mid-century American households seeking affordable, practical yet elegant tableware that would accommodate a modern, easy-living and informal lifestyle. More than 250 million American Modern pieces were sold by the Steubenville Pottery Company between 1939 and 1959.
This brochure will be on display in Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection, on view April 27, 2016 through March 12, 2017. From radios to furniture, the exhibition will display some of the most influential objects in the history of modernism, alongside contextual works drawn from the museum’s collection.
Stephen Van Dyk, Head Art Department. Smithsonian Libraries.