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Scenic Paper, The Colonnade

This is a Scenic paper. It was produced by George J. Hunken. It is dated 1937–42 and we acquired it in 2005. Its medium is screen printed and airbrushed on paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Colonnade is a good example of a mid-20th-century scenic wallpaper. Designed in the historic style, it contains a classic landscape scene with architectural monuments placed throughout. This paper was produced by the George J. Hunken Company, which operated from 1912 to 1956 in Brooklyn, New York. Hunken produced a wide range of scenic papers as well as repeating patterns, and began printing scenics as early as 1931. One characteristic feature of Hunken papers is the combination of screenprinting with airbrushing. This unusual and rare combination of techniques was used on many—if not all—of the Hunken scenics.
Manufacturers began screenprinting wallpaper around 1930. It has since become a major production technique. Because of the popularity of scenics in the mid-20th century and the prominence of screenprinting, it is important to represent papers with this combination of techniques in the museum’s collection. Colonnade would be the first example of a screenprinted scenic acquired by the museum.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Innovative Printers in Brooklyn.

This object was donated by Priscilla E. Muller. It is credited Gift of Priscilla E. Muller.

  • Frieze (France)
  • block-printed and stenciled on machine-made paper.
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.
  • 1931-45-80

Its dimensions are

Overall (Per panel): 365.8 x 76.2 cm (12 ft. x 30 in.)

Cite this object as

Scenic Paper, The Colonnade; Produced by George J. Hunken; USA; screen printed and airbrushed on paper; Overall (Per panel): 365.8 x 76.2 cm (12 ft. x 30 in.); Gift of Priscilla E. Muller; 2005-25-2-a/f

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Scenic Paper, The Colonnade |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>