about

The Object of the Day blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published five times a week (Monday through Friday) and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,00 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Day explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more. You can also subscribe to our Object of the Day email for a daily dose of design delivered to your inbox.

Image features white wallpaper with olive green scrollwork from which fern-like foliage sprouts. Monkeys, dressed in costumes of ultra-bright green, blue, red and pink, are perched on the scrollwork and involved in human activities such playing musical instruments and blowing bubbles. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Monkeying Around
Scrolling framework twists and curls along the length of this wallpaper, Singeries, which was screen printed by Piazza Prints Inc. and is dated to 1965. Winding along these curling sections are delicate green fronds that look to be from a fern or palm tree as their leaves reach outwards. Between the framework and fronds is...
Image features a design drawing of flatware: forks and knives. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A glimpse into Gerald Gulotta’s design process
This post was originally published on November 10, 2013. Gerald Gulotta became an established freelance designer of ceramics, glassware, silver and stainless steel cutlery during the 1960s and 1970s. His sleek, slender, elegant tabletop designs look as contemporary today as they did during the height of his career. The Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design department recently acquired...
Image features a poster design by Lester Beall for the Rural Electrification Administration. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Electrification for a Better Biscuit
This blog post was originally published on January 8, 2014.  By the 1930s, the vast majority of American urban dwellers had access to electricity in their homes and businesses.  But those in impoverished rural areas were often not serviced by private electric companies, who believed that it was not cost-effective for them to invest in...
Image features: Embroidered picture, nearly square in format, depicting a mourning female figure leaning on a tomb surmounted by an urn under the shade of a weeping willow. The tomb bears the inscription: Sacred to the memory of Dr. Robt Rogerson. obt. April 1st 1806, AE 49 y's. Lucy Rogerson. obt. March 4th, 1807, AE 39. Danl. H. Rogerson. obt., March 25th, 1808, AE 14. Lucy H. Rogerson. obt. 1803, AE 11 months. Embroidered in tan silk with toned watercolor washes. Trial sketch of head on left margin and trial letters in lower right and bottom margins. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Weeping Willow
To a modern eye, mourning samplers sometimes seem insufficiently personal or idiosyncratic to represent genuine grief, relying as they do on stock motifs—the woman in classical dress leaning in a posture of grief against the tomb, under a weeping willow. In fact, mourning was perhaps more fashionable than emotional; following the death of George Washington...
Image shows multi-panel scenic wallpaper of alpine scene, in sequence left to right. a) Nine cows before two huts. Large waterfall; b) Five cows before stone-based hut; c) Ten cows crossing bridge over waterfall, large single rock above cows; d) River landscape with distant valley. Six spruce trees in foreground, with berries and blossoms in immediate foreground; e) Clearing with single tree. Two goats, f) Rocky landscape with cap-like peak on horizon. Single thin tree in upper third of panel. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Landscape Escape
Wall-hangings throughout the centuries have come in a variety of forms and materials, tapping upon subject matter that is just as diverse. During the late 1700’s and early 1800’s scenic wallpapers came into production and swept through Europe, most notably in their place of origin, France. They are thought to have been created in a...
Image features chaise in the form of a long, contoured, rectangular seat/back unit of woven strips on curved wood frame with four flat, angled and tapered legs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Farm Fresh American Modernism
Edward Durell Stone, born in Arkansas in 1902, was an important proponent of the International Style in the United States, reconciling its crisp geometry and functionalism with American popular tastes. In the 1940s, however, his formalist aesthetic underwent a transformation following a cross-country tour that included visits to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and Yellowstone National...
Image features rectilinear desktop telephone in red and black, with handset at top, black keypad with green, yellow and blue number and function keys on left, rectangular gray panel with logo on right. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Communicating in Style
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the design team and one-time couple Gideon Löwy and Lone Lindinger-Löwy created a series of telephones called BeoCom, made for the Danish consumer electronics manufacturer Bang & Olufsen. The prefix “beo” is standard for all of Bang & Olufsen’s major products and the ending references the device’s purpose:...
Image features: Dark yellow fabric with vertical columns of rounded geometric shapes in neat clusters, each with a zigzag border and filled with a smiling face. Each face is filled with red and orange polka dots. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Sunshine Smile
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...
The image features a wallpaper design of a landscape scene with trees containing fall-colored leaves. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Warm Tones Set the Fall Mood
Walking through Central Park I enjoyed seeing all the brightly colored leaves in the trees, while the fallen leaves crunched underfoot. I thought this wallpaper with its warm colors and hints of green seemed to beautifully capture the essence of the fall day. This is a fairly stylized landscape scene which includes trees, vines, and...