To celebrate the opening of The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, this Object of the Day is dedicated to design now on view in the exhibition.
The image of arch-like jets of water cascading from a fountain – seen in the pattern repeat of this textile – was quite fashionable after the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs. This motif was showcased in the central panel of Oasis, an exotic five-panel iron and brass screen by acclaimed French metalsmith, Edgar Brandt, and one of the most celebrated works from the 1925 Exposition.
Cheney Brothers, a Connecticut based silk manufacturer, had a long association with Brandt. In 1924 they introduced Prints Ferronier, a collection of printed textiles inspired by his metalwork. That same year, they commissioned him to design and fabricate metal work for their NYC showroom building, where Brandt utilized the iconic fountain and arches of falling water motif. The Cheney Brothers pattern may also have been inspired by Édouard Bénédictus’ design for the textile Les Jets d’Eau, which also features the recognizable fountain motif in a woven form.
This object can be seen in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, on view through August 20, 2017.
Maleyne M. Syracuse is a graduate of the Masters program in the History of Decorative Arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum/Parsons The New School for Design, and is President of the Board of Directors of Peters Valley Craft Center. She recently retired as a Managing Director in the Investment Bank at JP Morgan and continues to work part-time as an independent professional in corporate finance and investment management.