Image shows striped wallpaper design with attached lithograph of room interior. Please scroll down to read the blog post this object.
Sample Books Offer Clues to Decor Trends
Wallpaper sample books are one of the lesser known areas of the Wallcoverings department. While sample books can vary greatly in quality and size, each has a story to tell, offering insights into period color trends and wall treatments. The earliest surviving American sample book was produced by the Janes & Bolles Company, in business...
Image features two young women, arms around each other's shoulders, walking through a field of high grass. Please scroll down to read a blog post about this object.
Strolling Girls
Winslow Homer’s graphite sketch, Two Girls in a Field, typifies the artist’s pastoral themes in the late 1870s and provides fascinating evidence of his creative process.  The drawing shows two young girls strolling arm in arm through a meadow of tall grasses; one in a straw hat looks downward, the other in a bonnet, looks...
Image features a commode with slightly serpentine rectangular top above two long drawers, the fronts inlaid with ivory lozenge stringing, on four tapered legs, the two front legs with canted outer edge inlaid with an ivory fillet with scrolling volute at top and ivory feet. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Art Deco Masterpiece
Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, the designer of this commode, produced a number of luxury furniture pieces throughout the 1920s and early 1930s that represent the pinnacle of French Art Deco design. His work often imbued historical cabinetmaking techniques and forms with a vibrant and modern spirit. Though he achieved notoriety for his furniture, his firm also produced...
Bag of silk, printed on both sides, commemorating the landing of General Lafayette at Castle Gardens N.Y. in 1824.
A Mixed Bag of Historical Accuracy
Author: Virginia Pollock While this hand painted silk bag may seem like a simple fashion accessory, in reality it marks one of the most celebrated events in 1824 in the city of New York. On the backside of the purse there is an inscription that reads: “Landing of General Lafayette / at the Castle Garden...
Image features a wallpaper pattern of pharmaceuticals, appearing like the Physician's Desk Reference. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Pill By Any Other Name…
Wallpaper is available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with a design, color, or texture to suit every taste. Leave it to Damien Hirst to throw some kinks into this usually conservative medium. This pharmaceutical design is an unusual theme for wallpaper but was very on-point for the restaurant for which it was...
Image features design for rectilinear air purifier in metal and wood laminate with hand-holds and modern glass vases displayed on top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Let’s Clear the Air: The Rise of the Domestic Air Purifier
In ancient Greece, air (along with earth, water, fire, and aether) was one of the five elements thought to comprise all substances. Questions of air quality began to arise in the Middle Ages, even before the composition of the atmosphere was discovered.[1] In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as coal became deeply entrenched in both...
Image features red plastic form, circular opening at one side to fit over a door knob, tapering to long handle as hand grip to turn knob. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Opening the Door for Accessible Design
Since the early 1980s, around the time of this door knob attachment’s production, designers and engineers have been particularly attuned to the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of users during their interactions with everyday things. This design approach has been called “user-centered design” and considers users’ needs at every stage of the design process. Donald...
A photograph of industrial designer Charles Harrison, winner of the 2008 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. Harrison wears a suit and tie and is seated next to white round table on which there is a copy of a biography of the designer.
Remembering Charles Harrison (1931-2018)
Cooper Hewitt remembers industrial designer and educator Charles Harrison, winner of the 2008 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, who passed away on November 29 at the age of 87. A prolific designer, Harrison created hundreds of pleasing, easy-to-use household products during his 32-year career with the retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Company. According to...
Image features: a pleated fan, paper leaf with chromolithograph showing a bullfighting scene on the obverse. Girl dancing at a cafe frequented by bullfighters on the reverse. Varnished wood sticks with painted grain. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Don Luis and Iron Arm
Eleanor Garnier Hewitt (1864–1924) and Sarah Cooper Hewitt (1859–1930) gave identical Spanish pleated fans to the Museum for the Arts & Decoration at Cooper Union. Eleanor donated her fan in 1924 while Sarah’s came later in the form of a bequest in 1931 (acc. no. 1931-6-150). Both fans were signed in Seville on April 13,...