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Image features a commode with slightly serpentine rectangular top above two long drawers, the fronts inlaid with ivory lozenge stringing, on four tapered legs, the two front legs with canted outer edge inlaid with an ivory fillet with scrolling volute at top and ivory feet. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Art Deco Masterpiece
Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, the designer of this commode, produced a number of luxury furniture pieces throughout the 1920s and early 1930s that represent the pinnacle of French Art Deco design. His work often imbued historical cabinetmaking techniques and forms with a vibrant and modern spirit. Though he achieved notoriety for his furniture, his firm also produced...
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...
Image shows wallpaper printed with sun and moon motifs in tones of bright red. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
This Sun Never Sets
Just as burning curiosity turns our heads heavenwards to investigate the mysteries of the sky, this wallpaper seizes our gaze through its fiery appeal, beckoning us to contemplate it’s piercing reds and swirling repeats. Eerie but whimsical faces peer back at the viewer, each sun has a small grin in one moment and a perfectly...
Image features a square weaving with a grid of stepped motifs in soft shades of browns, tans, pinks, and blues. Scroll down to read the blog about this object.
James Bassler, Thread by Thread
Author: Elena Phipps In celebration of the third annual New York Textile Month, members of the Textile Society of America will author Object of the Day for the month of September. A non-profit professional organization of scholars, educators, and artists in the field of textiles, TSA provides an international forum for the exchange and dissemination...
Image features a gold brooch of symmetrical geometric form reminiscent of a machine part; composed of a central shaft with two sets of ten small cylinders bundled around the center, encircled by a large beaded band at the center; conical terminals situated at each end of the central shaft with small beaded bands just inside. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Industrialization and Jewelry, Influences of the Machine
This very modern looking gold brooch dates to the 1870s. Its geometric form is comprised of cylindrical elements and tiny rivet-like bosses (round knobs, studs, or other protuberances). The symmetrical structure features a central shaft with two sets of ten small cylinders bundled around the center. Encircling these is a large beaded band at the...
Image features fragment of a quilt top in "Tumbling Blocks" pattern, made from small diamond shapes stitched together to create the illusion of cubes. The woven pieces are in silk stripes, plaids and a few small floral patterns. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Tumbling Blocks
“Tumbling Blocks” is one of the most recognizable quilt patterns. As popular today as it was from the mid to late 1800s, it is a requisite pattern for any quilt collection. The roots of the pattern date back far longer than its use for American quilts. Tumbling Blocks has a long history in the grammar...
Image features: Off-white blanket with five rectangles of geometric pattern: Four corners are gray diamonds on an off-white ground surrounded by concentric squares of brown, gray and peach. Center is brown, peach and tan zigzags bands with border of gray and peach concentric squares. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Return to Classic Designs
This single saddle blanket features five rectangles, each filled with the zigzag and diamond patterns the Navajo adapted so successfully from the Mexican serape. While in the 1870s and 80s these motifs were paired with exuberant use of color, by the 1880s some traders, such as J.L. Hubbell and C.N. Cotton, began to push for...
Image features: Small pieces of printed cotton in various colors patched to form a star medallion with scalloped outer edge. Each medallion set in white cotton about eighteen inches square. Twenty-five squares, each five by five inches, joined in a grid of strips of printed cotton, predominantly green. The center of each medallion plain white and several have handwritten inscriptions: "Our mother / The First to Cherish / The last to desert us. / Wm D. Jones / Frances L. Jones / May 11, 1845." "Made by Our Mother / Lucy Jones/ for / I.S. and M.P. Jones / 1845 / in her 64th year." "Our Parents / May the Evening of their / lives be as the morning sun / I.P. and M.E. Jones." Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Mariner’s Compass
A very special family quilt in the Mariner’s Compass pattern was given to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum by Susan Weitzman in 1972. Thanks to thoughtful, easy to read, handwritten inscriptions found on three of the twenty-five squares that make up the quilt, we know that Lacy Jones made the quilt in 1845, and that...
Image features: Patchwork quilt with a stepped squared diamond pattern in ivory, red and green. The ivory fabric forming the stepped diamond is plain. The red and green fabrics forming the lattice and borders are patterned by tiny flowers. The back is red with green edge. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
All in the Family
For centuries, quilt patterns and quilting techniques have been passed down from generation to generation and within generations, from sister-to-sister, cousin-to-cousin, or friend-to-friend. Without formal training, many quilters relied on their more experienced relatives to teach them the best methods. The museum is fortunate to have two quilts from the same family, the Reeds of...