Alexander Girard was one of the most influential textile designers of the mid-century period. Along with colleagues Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Eero Saarinen, he was a strong proponent of bringing an affordable modernism to the middle class.
From 1952 to 1973, Girard served as head of the Textile Division of Herman Miller Inc. During this time, he created over three hundred designs for upholstery and drapery fabrics for use in private and commercial interiors, exhibitions and corporate identity programs. His exuberant use of color, texture and pattern drew from folk art and Op art influences, synthesized into a unique style.
In Showers, Girard uses an irregular arrangement of truncated triangles to suggest the movement of falling rain. The museum also holds three original tissue paper collages for this design, and a detailed design drawing on tracing paper with the repeat indicated and the seven color screens called out in his architect’s hand.
Susan Brown is Associate Curator of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.