A version of this post was originally published on June 4, 2017.
This is a repost from an earlier year, but it seemed appropriate for the warm summer weather currently being experienced across the United States. It is called El Sol, or the Sun, and it is printed in primarily cool colors which seems quite refreshing.
I have always been a fan of modernist painter Joan Miró. I admire the naiveté and reductive quality in his work, along with his use of bold colors, and his disregard for perspective. Also, the way he overlaps elements in his designs and his use of positive and negative spaces. All of these come to life in his mural “El Sol”. The full-size mural measured four by six feet so could easily fill a wall and become the focal point of a room.
Miró was one of four artists commissioned by Katzenbach & Warren to create an original work of art that would be reproduced in limited edition silk screen prints. The other artists included Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, and Matta. This was a bold move, which I’m sure came at great expense to the company. Many of the wallpaper manufacturers were hurting financially following the war as they could not create new patterns as the government imposed a moratorium on new patterns as the metals required for making printing rollers and the silk needed for silk screens were all directed to the war effort. When the moratorium ended manufacturers got to work creating new collections and trying to improve the consumers’ view of wallpapers as being old and stodgy. What better way to do this than with designs by renowned artists, probably all of which were household names. This same trend was widely seen among German manufacturers, who most likely had a more difficult time getting reestablished.
Greg Herringshaw is the Assistant Curator in Wallcoverings.