Image features a vinyl wallcovering with a dense pattern of thick yellow rings rendered in trompe l'oeil. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Wallcovering for your Sweet Tooth
In case these gray winter skies are getting you down, here is a perky wallpaper to brighten the mood. Aptly titled “Life Savers,” this wallcovering enlivened the interiors market sometime in the early 1970s. The design consists of circles, or life savers if you will, tightly aligned in polka dot fashion. The front of each...
Dianne Pilgrim, seen here in her middle years, is seated in a collections storage area, surrounded by objects such as a clock, a coffeemaker, and a lamp. She has a blonde bob and is smiling. Dianne is a wheelchair user.
Remembering Dianne Pilgrim
This tribute to Dianne Pilgrim was composed by Ellen Lupton. The world of design has lost a great friend with the passing of Dianne Pilgrim (1941–2019), director emeritus of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. When Pilgrim joined the museum as director in 1988, she brought her deep scholarly knowledge of American design as well as...
Image features a drawing of a night scene showing an idealized rocky landscape with falling snow. In the sky is the star of Bethlehem. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors was the original Hallmark Christmas movie. The one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti was the first opera composed for television in the United States. Commissioned by NBC, it was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1951 from a studio in Rockefeller Center. Sponsored by Hallmark, it was also the debut...
Image features: Brisé fan with pierced sticks. Moire effect produced by darker brown color swirling through tan color. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Ivory Substitute
This fan is in “good” condition for cellulose nitrate and therefore a rarity. Cellulose nitrate is an early plastic polymer invented in the mid-nineteenth century and derived from cellulose that is treated with nitric acid. The material gradually degrades, releasing nitric acid. This fan documents a time of experimentation when substitutions for costly natural materials,...
Image features a wallpaper with a repeating floral bouquet printed on Tyvek. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Scrubbable Flowers, Pre-pasted Even
This delicate floral design by Lanette Scheeline was one of the early wallcoverings printed on Tyvek. The design consists of a fairly small repeat, actually, a single small bouquet of mixed flowers, perhaps wildflowers, repeated two across the width and repeating vertically on the diagonal. The flowers are rendered in a stylized manner, and printed...
Image features a large scale model of the Ricinus communis (also called the castor bean, or castor oil) plant with red stigma rising from a green spiny capsule and long green leaves on a thick green stem, mounted on a black turned-wood base. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Botanical Lessons
This Object of the Day post celebrates the opening of Nature by Design: Botanical Expressions, on view from December 7, 2019-January 10, 2021. In the rapidly changing world of the nineteenth century, the expansion of industrialization was accompanied by an increased interest in science. Alongside major discoveries such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, Mendeleev’s periodic table,...
Image features a circular white plate with a wavy, brown-edged rim surrounding colorful painted decoration of a branch of bocconia/parrot weed (Bocconia frutescens) leaves, various sprigs, a caterpillar, and two winged insects. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Natural History for Dinner
To celebrate the opening of Nature by Design: Botanical Expressions (December 7, 2019-January 10, 2021), Object of the Day this week will feature objects from the exhibition. The creation of what has come to be known as Hans Sloane plates derived from an increased interest in natural history in the eighteenth century, which led to...
Image features a silver-plated toast rack with seven square dividers composed of vertical posts and horizontal rods connected by ball joints, the center one with an extra raised section to serve as a handle, all on a curved base resting on four bun feet. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Geometry of Nature
To celebrate the opening of Nature by Design: Botanical Expressions (December 7, 2019-January 10, 2021), Object of the Day this week will feature objects from the exhibition. Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) is often described as the first independent industrial designer because of his belief in machine production, his ability to create beautiful and functional objects in...
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Beyond the Crystal Palace
To celebrate the opening of Nature by Design: Botanical Expressions (December 7, 2019-January 10, 2021), Object of the Day this week will feature objects from the exhibition. Sir Joseph Paxton’s name may sound familiar to architecture enthusiasts, as he was responsible for designing the famous Crystal Palace of 1851 in London. The construction, which housed...