This is a fun, modernist wallpaper design most likely intended for a kitchen or breakfast nook. The high contrast colors, and the expanses of plain white background, give this design a very clean and fresh look.

Three different bouquets of very stylized red flowers, each in a different vase on a shelf, is set against a harlequin wallpaper or tile pattern. Each of these different displays is attached to a grid resembling the work of Piet Mondrian, who began creating his grid painting in the early 1920s and continued into the 1940s. Many of his works contained grid patterns with some sections filled in with blocks of color. On the wallpaper the center grid is filled with the wall tile pattern. Smaller attached grids are each filled with a trio of more red flowers.

The large open expanse of unprinted background is a reflection of technology. There are some examples of late eighteenth century papers printed on a white ground, but these tended to be more high-end and could be used in rooms that were not heavily trafficked, or perhaps off limits to children, or the owner could afford to replace the paper if it became soiled. But on this wallpaper it reflects the development of washable pigments introduced in 1934. This is especially important for wallpapers designed to be used around water or food. This wallpaper also carries the Union label so we know it was produced in the United States. Other than that nothing is known about the Lucky Star Wallpaper company.

 

Greg Herringshaw is the Assistant Curator in the Wallcoverings department at Cooper Hewitt.

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