Gay Façade, a textile design featuring whimsical line drawings of geometrically shaped suns with smiling faces, was designed by John Hull for Associated American Artists. It was produced in multiple colorways, another of which (1994-38-8) is currently in the museum’s collection. In this version, suns are outlined in black and partially filled by red and orange dots, all on a bright yellow ground.

An illustrated preview of separates designed by Toni Owen in the Gay Façade print was highlighted in a Signature Fabrics advertisement in the December 29, 1952 issue of Women’s Wear Daily. The print appeared twice in the January 1953 issue of Harper’s Bazaar: the aforementioned Toni Owen separates and a coordinating blouse and skirt designed by Owen-Morgan were both fashioned from Hull’s textile design. [1] As Rebecca Blake wrote in a Boston Daily Globe article on January 4, 1953, “the fascinating ‘Gay Façade’ print features brilliant ‘Shock’ colors.”

Aside from the aforementioned textile, there is currently one additional example of Hull’s work in the museum’s collection: a wallcovering entitled Speckled Diamond (1954-21-9).

 

Rachel Ward Sepielli is a recent graduate of the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program at the Cooper Hewitt.

 

[1] Karen J. Herbaugh, “Index of AAA Textile Designs,” in Art for Every Home: An Illustrated Index of Associated American Artists Prints, Ceramics, and Textile Designs (Manhattan: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, Kansas State University, 2016), http://hdl.handle.net/2097/19686.

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