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Centennial Souvenir
This souvenir handkerchief of Horticultural Hall at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia is unusual for its diagonal placement of the building in the center of the square. In the collection at the New York Historical Society there is a printed textile with six uncut handkerchiefs – there are views of the Art Gallery, Horticultural...
Butterflies on Stripes
Whenever I come across this paper I always stop and give it a second glance, not sure whether to love it or hate it. Twelve years later it still grabs my attention. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive machine printed paper. If you can disregard the stripes for a minute, the butterflies and roses...
Gatsby’s Return
This 1947 book cover for The Great Gatsby was designed by Alvin Lustig (American 1915–1955) as part of the New Classics project. Initiated in 1939 by New Directions Publishing, the New Classics project created a series of cutting edge reprints of classic novels.  When F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was first published in 1925, it garnered...
Picasso’s Birds
In 1953, Dan Fuller, president of Fuller Fabrics, invited five of the 20th century’s most distinguished artists: Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, and Raoul Dufy, to collaborate on a line of textiles to be called the Modern Master Series. The concept was unique in that the artists were not commissioned to produce...
Visions of Egypt for the Armchair Traveler
This is a classic and rather timeless pattern created by John Rombola whose unique drawing style stands apart from other mid-century designers. Rombola gives character to his whimsical designs, a mix of naïve and fantastical, through his use of brilliant color and pattern. Egypt contains numerous icons of ancient Egypt including a very fashionable Cleopatra,...
Surface of Luxury
Sarah D. Coffin and Cynthia Trope discuss this lavish yet modern sharkskin desk, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Radio waves
Set against a black background, this drawing of a cherry-red radio demands attention.  Its oblong form and stepped surface are echoed by curving red lines that float above and beneath the body.  These may be details, intended to show highlights that would be reflected on the curved surface, but there is also something less literal...
The Master Silk Printer
Elizabeth Broman discusses the 1920s trade catalogue The Master Silk Printer.
Baby on Board
Many southwest Chinese ethnic groups, especially the Miao, are known for their spectacular embroidery. Traditionally women’s work, embroidery was a Miao girl’s first attempt at needlework starting as early as four or five years old. Watching their mothers and other women in the community weave and embroider, they would later pass on this knowledge to...