Something Fishy
Painter and commercial illustrator Richard Munsell began creating advertising artwork for Maxwell House in the 1940s. His ads, the best known of which depicts coffee time at a living-room sewing bee, appeared within a series entitled “Part of the American Scene.” He also designed textiles that appealed to the American experience: lazy summer days spent...
Descent from the Cross
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) was a Baroque painter and printmaker best known for his self-portraits and illustrations of biblical scenes. He trained under two masters: Jacob van Swanenburgh (1571–1638), who specialized in cityscape paintings and scenes of hell and the underworld, and Pieter Lastman (1583–1633), who specialized in history paintings. Given his education with...
A Gaze into the Park
City Park is a repeating sidewall paper designed by Dan Funderbrugh for Flavor Paper. It was acquired by the Cooper Hewitt in 2007 and is among a variety of more modern papers that have been obtained by the museum as of late. Collecting from all time periods is essential in keeping museum records up to...
American Craft, Japanese Design
This pitcher was manufactured by Rookwood Pottery, an American art pottery company founded in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rookwood was begun by Maria Longworth Nichols in 1880 after she was enamored of the Japanese ceramics on view at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Nichols originally proposed to her father that they bring a Japanese pottery—“workmen...
Preview Design Legends | Joris Laarman
Enjoy this exciting preview of Director Caroline Baumann’s interview with Joris Laarman, founder of Joris Laarman Lab, for Cooper Hewitt’s Design Legends video series. Cooper Hewitt is the first U.S. museum to present a solo exhibition of this pioneering Dutch designer  pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the development and use of new technologies....
Cinematic Roots
Fresco is a hand-drawn and -painted textile created by a team of Indian calligraphers. Formerly employed to paint cinema billboards, these painters now produce craft fabrics. The uniqueness of each textile is only discernible under close scrutiny, when one notices slight variations of lines and the occasional stray ink marks. This overall consistency of application...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Watch This Window
In last month’s Short Story, Matthew Kennedy paraded us through the theatrical follies of the Hewitts, as well as the vivid and varied theatrical design collection of Cooper Hewitt. This month, Emily Orr, Cooper Hewitt’s assistant curator of modern and contemporary American design,  introduces us to the chic and imaginative world of store window displays...
Branching Out
For more than a decade, Dutch designer Joris Laarman and his team at Joris Laarman Lab have been looking to nature for information and inspiration. As he writes in the newly published book Joris Laarman Lab, “our digital age makes it possible to not just use nature as a stylistic reference, but to actually use the...
Mourning the Memory of Ill-Gotten Gains
This reliquary vase, created by Matt Nolen, is featured in the exhibition, The Virtue in Vice, currently on view at Cooper Hewitt. The vase was selected as a visual interpretation of greed, here defined as the acquisition of large sums of money, universally recognized as the hallmark of avarice. Though tongue-in-cheek, Nolen’s reliquary pointedly illustrates...