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 a brochure with a diagram of the overall menstrual cycle on the front cover in pink, red, yellow, white, and black against a black background. White numbers representing days of the month are arranged in a circle, and different types of moons appear in white in the four corners. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Herbert Bayer, Master of the Universe
Herbert Bayer is known for his work as a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, the famous German art school that integrated art, design, and daily life. During Bayer’s formative years at the Bauhaus (1921–1928), he helped create the modern discipline of graphic design by using photography, type, and geometric systems to promote products and...
Image features embroidered picture showing five women representing "The Five Senses" with their attributes. Hearing, playing a lute, is in the center, Smell is upper right, Touch is lower right, Taste is upper left, and Sight is lower left. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Raising the Bar for Intricate Needlework
Author: Katherine Diuguid The wealth of needlework techniques on display in 17th century English raised-work embroideries is a reminder that these pictures functioned as samplers, in which amateur embroiderers would test out different techniques as they progressed in their needlework skills. Whether depicting Biblical or mythological characters, female figures rendered in contemporary dress often enjoyed...
Image features a pitcher composed of a globular, translucent green glass body with a cylindrical neck covered in silver-plated metal with an inverted U-shaped handle, short spout, and an inset circular lid. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
“Without Light Everything is Lifeless”
Designer Massimo Vignelli was known for the sense of sophistication and refinement he brought to the product, graphic, and furniture design that he produced first in Italy, and later in the U.S. working with his wife Lella, also a designer.  While a student at the School of Architecture in Venice, Vignelli learned about glass from architect and glass...
Image features an Empire-style wallpaper with two figural landscape views. Please scroll to read the blog post about this object.
Roses and Music, or Cat and Mouse
This wallpaper format is fairly typical of a new genre that appeared following the upheaval of the French Revolution. The designs consist of one or two landscape views which alternate with one or two smaller secondary elements. These are almost always printed over a spotted or otherwise patterned ground. This particular design contains two each...
Le Corbusier’s Serbian Vase
As a young architect in search of inspiration, Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (Swiss, 1887 – 1965) traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.[i] Early in the summer of 1911, Jeanneret (today better known by his adopted name, “Le Corbusier”), then twenty-four years old, set out on a five-month journey that would take him through the Balkans,...
This object features: Small, square weaving with a grid of stepped motifs alternating off-white with a palette of soft shades: violet, blue-green, brown, terra cotta, and yellow. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
James Bassler, Thread by Thread
Paired sets of stepped blocks in harmony and balance echo an ancient process. James Bassler (American, b. 1933), in his work Six by Four II, incorporates an aesthetic of pure color through the interlacing of warps and wefts in a special way. By changing the colors of each block, linked one to the other, thread...
Image features a brown wooden chair with straight legs and low stretchers, slightly angled back and rectangular seat, both upholstered in tan to brown fabric. The legs and frame back are decorated with square ebony inlay. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Nieuwe, Not Nouveau
Refined, rational, and demonstrably Dutch, this was the aim when Hendrik Petrus Berlage designed this chair for the Amsterdam-based firm, ‘t Binnenhuis (The Interior). This important architect and designer opened the firm in 1900 in collaboration with the insurance company director, Carel Henny, jeweler, Willem Hoeker, and interior designer, Jacob van den Bosch.[1] Motivated by...
Image features a design of a black sheep or ewe performing a variety of beauty rituals. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
This Ewe Rocks!
I always get good feedback when I blog about poodle wallpapers from the post-war period. They seem to trigger an emotional response, and people either love them or hate them. I’ve pretty much exploited all the poodle wallpapers in the collection, but fear not, I’ve found a substitute. This paper features a black sheep, primping...
Selling Victorian Wallpaper
The wallpaper manufacturer, Jeffrey & Co. published the trade catalog, The “Victorian” wall-papers, embossed leather-papers, staircase decorations, ceiling papers, detailing their collection of wallpapers, in 1887. Based at 64 Essex Road in London, the firm worked with a variety of designers who were active in the aesthetic and arts and crafts movements, such as E.W....