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Gatsby’s return
This 1947 book cover for The Great Gatsby was designed by Alvin Lustig (American 1915-1955) as part of the project “New Classics.” Initiated in 1939 by New Directions Publishing, the New Classics project was a series of cutting edge reprints of classic novels.  When F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was first published in 1925, it garnered...
Photograph of Joyful Interiors Book Signing
Joyful Interiors: Rediscovering the Textiles of Marguerita Mergentime
Exploring Marguerita Mergentime’s life and career, reintroducing her ideas on modern design, informal dining, and joyful living.
Image of panel discussion from Stepping Out Fashion in the 1920s
Stepping Out: 1920s Fashion
In conjunction with The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, a Design Talk with fashion historians Caroline Milbank and Jan Reeder on the revolutionary fashion trends that marked the era, with special emphasis on style in New York and the influence of Paris.
Let There Be Light: Table Candlestand
One of the most precious household commodities before the advent of electric lights was the candle. Candles were typically burned at night, and only when necessary, as they were laborious to make and costly to buy. The best candles were made of pure beeswax, because these burned cleanly and emitted a pleasant honey odor. Another...
From Mud Into Immortality
Upon his return from military service in Europe in 1919, Henry Varnum Poor settled in an artists’ community in New City, New York where he purchased land and began single-handedly building a home called Crow House, named after the local birds who kept him company while he worked. As a struggling painter Poor was always...
“… of course, it’s electric!”
“The Battle of the Centuries” was a dish washing contest between Mrs. Drudge and Mrs. Modern, between hand washing vs. electric dishwashers at the 1939/40 New York World’s Fair. This contest promoted all the benefits of modern appliances and is part of the history of new and improved technology in the modern age. The Cooper Hewitt Library...
Louie Louie
Louis Sullivan’s ornament can be appreciated on both a large scale—think Chicago’s Carson Pirie Scott building—and a small one—this cast iron doorplate. Having been removed from its original location during the mid-twentieth century, this doorplate is from Adler & Sullivan’s last commission, the Guaranty Building (now called the Prudential Building). The building became a National...
It’s Time
George Nelson and his team at George Nelson Associates were the creative force behind many iconic mid-century furniture designs—such as the “Marshmallow” sofa and various storage systems—but it is in the company’s playful clock designs of the 1950s and 1960s that the whimsy of mid-century modern design excels. The Asterisk wall clock’s simple design relates...
The Doughnut
Conjuring up the round abstract shapes and bold colors of Alexander Calder’s hanging mobiles and graphic work, this teapot’s unique shape stands out amongst many of the teapots created by the Hall China Company during the 1930s and 1940s. Making its debut in 1938, the Doughnut teapot was one of several novelty designs created by...