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Textile, Americana Print: It

This is a Textile. It was designed by Kneeland (Ruzzie) Green and manufactured by Stehli Silk Corporation. It is dated 1925 and we acquired it in 1937. Its medium is silk and its technique is printed by engraved roller. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Americana Prints was the brainchild of Kneeland “Ruzzie” Green, who designed It and a few other text-based patterns for the collection. As Art Director for Stehli Silks, Green saw firsthand the prevalence of uninspired, watered-down copies of French designs on the American silk market. That troublesome trend, and a trip to the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs (in which the United States chose not to participate), seem to have inspired Green to put together a defiantly American collection.

As the name of this collection suggests, the designs were meant to be patriotic, but in a less traditional sense, as they referenced jazz and urban life and evoked a general sense of movement and energy. Some of the Americana Prints featured direct references to American life, while others were inspired by a truly American sense of ingenuity, like in Edward Steichen’s patterns, which were based on photographs of everyday objects and the shadows they created.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled A Conscious Shift from French Tradition.

This object was donated by Marian Hague. It is credited Gift of Marian Hague.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 24.4 x 99.1 cm (9 5/8 x 39 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Americana Print: It; Designed by Kneeland (Ruzzie) Green (1892 – 1956); USA; silk; H x W: 24.4 x 99.1 cm (9 5/8 x 39 in.); Gift of Marian Hague; 1937-1-6

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, Americana Print: It |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>