Object of the Day

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1991-59-178
Jens Risom: Master of Scandinavian Furniture
The Model 666WSP Chair, from 1943, is an example of the furniture designed by Danish-American designer Jens Risom, who died at 100 on December 9, 2016. Risom was the son of a prominent Danish architect and he, himself, is often regarded as one of the founders of midcentury modern design in America. He came to...
Textile: "Leaves," 1931, designed by Robert Bonfils (French, 1886–1972) and manufactured by Bianchini-Férier, Inc. (Lyon, France), damask woven silk and viscut, Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2016-31-1
Lush Leaves
Robert Bonfils (French, 1886–1972) was a prolific illustrator and designer who is perhaps best known for his fashion illustrations for the Gazette du Bon Ton and Modes et Manières d’Aujourd’hui. He also contributed to Arts et Métiers Graphiques, and was commissioned to create the cover for the catalogue of the enormously influential 1925 Exposition Internationale...
New Year's Day
A Spirited Equation
You don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate this visual recipe designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen (American, 1927–2016). An orange pomander studded with cloves, a French red wine from the Rhone valley, and Courvoisier cognac add up to produce the mulled wine served by Elaine and Arthur Cohen at their New Year’s Day parties....
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Glasgow Geometry
Though this paper dates from the 1960s, it is a reprint of an original design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh created in 1916. It was made for W.J. Bassett-Lowke, founder of a manufacture of model trains and construction sets, for the lounge hall of his house Derngate in Northampton. Mackintosh was an architect and designer known...
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Surface Patterns
Frederick Krieg’s colorful design for a two-part part tile pattern is depicted in a three by three grid.  The result is an alternating composition that maintains unity through repeated colors (light blue, bisque, and charcoal) and angles (hexagonal and inverted).  Krieg’s precision is all the more impressive given the medium: watercolor paint. A self-taught designer...
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If I were a carpenter…,or a builder or woodworker
Title: The Architect, builder and woodworker. Publisher: New York [etc.] C.D. Lakey [etc.] 1868- Smithsonian Libraries Reference Number: NA1. A43 CHMRU   Builder and Wood-Worker Masthead. Vol. 18, no.2 Feb, 1882. NA1. A43 CHMRU The Cooper Hewitt Library collects a variety of trade periodicals, especially those dealing with architecture and the building trades. The Architect,...
1997-90-1
A Usonian Seat
This chair is believed to have come from the Robert D. Winn House in Kalamazoo, Michigan, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes— affordable housing designed for middle-class families. The architect used the adjective “usonian” to describe the unique character of the American landscape. Usonian furniture designs were simple and intended to be made on-site...
Nazca Band, 100 BC–800 AD, South Coast, Peru, cotton and wool slit tapestry with some weft wrapping and use of non-horizontal wefts, Museum purchase through gift of Erskine Hewitt, 1949-118-1-a
Mystical Incan Band
The fine weaving of this narrow band, with eccentric wefts that follow the diagonals of the design, marks it as a special item. Among the brilliantly dyed blue, yellow and red yarns, a fuzzy, coffee-colored yarn stands out. The fiber source may be an extremely fine camelid, such as the wild guanaco, or rabbit hair,...
Paul Rand OOD Image
Santa’s Favorite Cigar
The characteristic wit and whimsy of graphic designer Paul Rand dominates a long-running series of ads designed for El Producto in the 1950s. Already wildly successful by the 1940s, Rand was hired in 1952 to revamp the American-made cigar company’s advertising efforts after production shifted from hand-rolled to machine-rolled cigars. To enliven these factory-made products,...