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 cover design of Majorelle trade catalogue. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
French Elegance
Authors: Stephen Van Dyk and Adrienne Meyer This early 20th century trade catalog in the Cooper Hewitt Library includes furniture, lighting, and decorative objects in the art nouveau style created by the French firm of Majorelle. Louis Majorelle (1859-1926), an important French furniture manufacturer, took over his father Auguste’s cabinet making workshop in Nancy in...
Image features a wallpaper frieze with inset panel containing cherubs harvesting wheat. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Wheat Harvest
I came across this frieze paper and the image seemed a little unusual. The whole theme of the paper is wheat. Printed in grisaille, or shades of gray, this frieze is a trompe l’oeil design with a large inset panel as the main element. A wide architectural molding runs across the top edge, with a...
A man, seen in profile, plays a banjo with his right hand. His left arm is not shown.
An Artist in America
A noted teacher whose students included Jackson Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement, painting scenes of everyday life in the United States.  During the Great Depression, he traveled through the South and Midwest and published an autobiography—An Artist in America—recounting his experiences.  The book was illustrated with sketches...
Image features a group five floor lamps in the shape of giant pills, each with a white top and a base in a different color: yellow, white, green, red, and blue. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Popping Pills
Revealing the importance between Pop Art and design, Cesare Casati and Emanuele Ponzio’s Pillola lamps designed in 1968, are representative of Italy’s anti-design movement of the mid-1960s and 1970s. Challenging notions of “good design,” the anti-design movement took its cues from Pop Art’s use of bright colors and banal subject matter. The Pillola lights culturally...
Image features: Two round doilies: one with a fanciful bird, the other with a stylized palm tree. Square lace inserts for a curtain contain a female figure in traditional dress, the other has a male figure with outstretched arms and an owl. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Lovely Lace
This group of lace doilies and inserts were produced in 1922 by the Wiener Werkstätte under the direction of Dagobert Peche (Austrian, 1887–1923). All four are handmade, but were produced in multiples as both the round doilies and square insert with a male figure are remarkably similar to ones found in the collection at MAK...
Image features a wallpaper and matching border containing grass and a landscape view. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
No Surf with this Turf
Wallpapers were rarely designed to be used alone, and fashions in wall treatments changed frequently. In the early twentieth century, wall treatments began to get simpler, consisting of a wallpaper and wide border, or frieze, and it remained popular to paper ceilings into the 1950s. This turf design is part of a matching set of...
Images features a portrait of Sir Anthony van Dyck. Only his head is worked up, looking over a lightly outlined shoulder. The rest of the page is blank.
Meet Sir Anthony
Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), knighted by King Charles I of England, was a Flemish painter renowned for his portraits of members of the British Court. Trained in Antwerp by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Van Dyck, like his teacher, experimented with making prints.[1] In the late 1520s or early 1530s, Van Dyck began an extensive...
Image features a large armchair, the frame made of multiple curved, twisted, and joined Longhorn steer horns comprising a bow-shaped back and arms surrounding a rectangular seat upholstered in modern metalic-toned leather on curved horn supports and legs terminating in feet with small brass casters. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Wenzel Friedrich’s Longhorn Furniture
Trained as a cabinetmaker in his native Bohemia, Wenzel Friedrich immigrated to the United States in 1853, settling in San Antonio, Texas, and opening a revival-style furniture business. In 1880, he became more innovative, realizing the potential of the Texan stockyards’ abundant supply of Texas Longhorn cattle horns as a material for use in furniture...
Image features: Neon yellow linear cube pattern on a grey ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Bright Cube
Along with Bright Grid and Bright Angle, Bright Cube is the second series of products designed by Dutch designers, Stefan Scholten (b. 1972) and Carole Baijings (b. 1973) of Scholten & Baijings in collaboration with Maharam. Their first, Blocks and Grid, is in Cooper Hewitt’s collection. Scholten & Baijings’s work is characterized by minimal forms...