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Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: The Fantastic Beasts of Robert Winthrop Chanler
In the last Cooper Hewitt Short Story, we tweeted about birdcages and their passionate collector, Alexander Drake. April’s Short Story—by Stephen Van Dyk, Head Librarian at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library—confronts birds and beasts not confined to cages, but rather fantastical interiors and the illustrated pages of library books. Margery Masinter, Trustee, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian...
Bright orange cover with text and illustraion
Caricature Miscellany
By Annaleigh McDonald This bright gem from the Cooper Hewitt Library’s rare book collection contains the work of George Grosz, a German artist who immigrated to the United States at age 39 in 1933, eventually becoming a naturalized citizen in 1938. Known for his scathing caricatures of post-war life in Germany, Grosz was vehemently anti-Nazi,...
Designing the New Commons
Interview with Corinne Hill, director of the Chattanooga Public Library, who created a unique maker space and civic commons in the Library's downtown branch.
Harlequin Furniture
This cleverly designed library table conceals a nearly six-foot ladder, whose steps may be put up or taken down in mere seconds. It was built after designs published in 1793 by the London cabinet maker Thomas Sheraton, who in turn was inspired by a piece made by Robert Campbell for the private library of Prince...
For the Love of Books
Today, let’s talk books. Or rather, a trompe l’oeil wallpaper printed to appear like a well-stocked bookcase in someone’s library. This is one of the livelier, not to mention convincing, bookcase wallpapers I have seen. And it’s no wonder, it was created by the brilliant decorator, muralist and trompe l’oeil painter Richard Lowell Neas. Many...
book cover
Dancing with Modernism
Written by Gretchen Von Koenig Elements of Geometry by Euclid is one of the most printed books in the world, second only to the Bible. A critical subject for any branch of mathematics, Euclid’s Elements is a timeless book and certainly an ideal project for Bruce Rogers, one of the most prolific American book and...
An Enlightened Man Cave
The interior decoration depicted in this drawing is extremely fashionable for an eighteenth-century home. This design exhibits the quintessential light and airy Rococo features of arabesques, s- and c- scrolls, vegetal motifs and swags, all with the appearance of symmetry. The layout of the boiserie, or wall paneling, aids in the creation of symmetry within the...
Art Nouveau, all over the floor!
The Cooper Hewitt Library has a number of linoleum catalogs. Carpettes Linoleum is our newest, and to date, earliest one. This flooring trade catalog from Lancaster, England was printed for distribution to French consumers, who like many other European and American buyers, liked the durability, versatility, cleanliness, and the variety of designs available in linoleum...
Rarity of Color Harmony
A significant acquisition to the Cooper Hewitt Library’s special collections in 2014 was Édouard Guichard’s Die Harmonie der Farben (The Harmony of Colors). A rare and important work heavily influenced by the 1839 De la loi du contraste simulanté des Couleurs by M.E. Chevreul, this edition was published in Frankfurt Germany in 1882. Profusely illustrated...