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Textile, Rail

This is a Textile. It was produced by Knoll Textiles. It is dated 1962 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is linen and its technique is leno weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

As glass-walled office buildings proliferated in the mid-1950s, Knoll’s collection of casement fabrics, as a category distinct from draperies, expanded rapidly. Casements are defined as open weave or sheer fabrics that filter light without blocking it.
In 1955, most of the casements Knoll’s line were simple plain-woven sheers but, later in the decade, Knoll began to commission designers to create casements with bolder textures and more structural interest. Anni Albers, who had long been concerned with the functional role of textiles in modern architecture, agreed to create designs on a royalty basis. Knoll introduced three linen gauze-weave casements by Albers: Lattice (1959), Rail (1962) and Track (1965). Rail was the boldest of the three, with wide open spaces broken by closely grouped twisted warps. It remained in the line until at least 1978 in the United States and until 1982 in Europe.
Rail is proposed for acquisition along with two earlier Knoll experiments in casement fabrics, Minnow and Fishnet. Together, these textiles would help document the development of casement fabrics.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Casements with more structural interest.

It is credited Gift of Richard and Trudy Schultz.

  • Textile, Eclat
  • cotton.
  • Museum purchase through gift of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and from....
  • 2011-41-1
  • Bag, 24 Hours
  • linen selvedges, polyurethane.
  • Courtesy of Luisa Cevese Riedizioni.
  • 88.2015.17
  • Bag, Basket
  • linen selvedges, polyurethane.
  • Courtesy of Luisa Cevese Riedizioni.
  • 88.2015.20

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Its dimensions are

H x W: 99.1 x 115.6 cm (39 x 45 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Rail; Produced by Knoll Textiles (United States); USA; linen; H x W: 99.1 x 115.6 cm (39 x 45 1/2 in.); Gift of Richard and Trudy Schultz; 2011-25-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, Rail |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>