Walking through Central Park I enjoyed seeing all the brightly colored leaves in the trees, while the fallen leaves crunched underfoot. I thought this wallpaper with its warm colors and hints of green seemed to beautifully capture the essence of the fall day.

This is a fairly stylized landscape scene which includes trees, vines, and clouds, while the different scale of the trees suggests depth. Typical of this format, the pendant vines and foliage from one scene draw the viewer’s eyes down to the scene below where they meld with the lower view. The somewhat expressionistic application of color also works well with the paper’s embossing which resembles rough plaster. This became a popular treatment on residential walls during the 1920s. If you were not “fortunate” enough to have this treatment in your home, or weren’t sure you wanted to live with textured walls indefinitely, you could easily achieve this look with embossed papers. Many American and French companies were producing wallpapers with a very convincing rough plaster effect.

I don’t have much information about this wallpaper though the manufacturer did print some good clues in the selvedge. I know United Wall Paper Factories was formed in 1927, and that wallpaper became light fast or fade proof in 1928. While it is not printed on the paper that it is washable, the Fleck patent 1955626 is for a washable wallpaper, so not sure what this indicates. Becoming fade proof and washable were major breakthroughs for wallpaper, and manufacturers were quick to print this on their papers. Back in the 1930s one couldn’t turn to Google Patents for a quick answer so not sure who would have understood this last reference.

Greg Herringshaw is the Assistant Curator for Wallcoverings.

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