In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection.
This floral paper stuns with its bright warm colors and energetically-rendered flowers. The Cooper Hewitt has three other colorways of this particular design, each equally eye-catching and bold. This particular paper, though printed by a New York-based company, recalls in its vivid oranges and yellows the heat and intensity of a California summer. Lanette Scheeline, a native of the Bay Area, is best known for the textiles she produced in the 1950s while working in Berkeley and San Francisco, but she was an equally prolific wallpaper designer. Her move in the 1960s to New York encouraged her shift in media as she became involved with the wallpaper company Katzenbach and Warren.
Floral motifs are common in Scheeline’s work, as are landscape and cityscape scenes drawn from her native California. Initially a designer of window displays, in the 1930s she shifted to textiles, hand-printing her work using wood- and linocuts. One of her textiles was featured on the November 1936 cover of Sunset magazine, bringing her a great deal of attention and praise. Its central motif, the almost-completed Golden Gate Bridge, embodied the optimism abundant in early- and mid-twentieth century California. She also exhibited at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition which brought her further attention. Before collaborating with Katzenbach and Warren, she collaborated with the textile screen-printers Louma Hand Prints in San Francisco, and her work was sold in the city’s major retailer W. & J. Sloane. Her work embodies the essential appeal of Californian mid-century design, injecting the formal experimentation of modernism with a warmth and vibrancy fueled by a sense of place and belief that design must be a pleasurable experience. A pattern like Giant Poppies would undoubtedly transform any room into a joyful, vibrant space.
Nicholas Lopes is a student in the History of Design & Curatorial Studies graduate program at the Cooper Hewitt, and is a Master’s Fellow in the Wallcoverings Department.
Tigerman, Bobbye. A Handbook of California Design, 1930-1965: Craftspeople, Designers, Manufacturers. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.
Kaplan, Wendy, ed. California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011.