Cooper Hewitt Porcelain for the Table
Inspired by porcelain imported from East Asia, this selection documents the output of some of Europe’s most prestigious and influential porcelain manufacturers from the 18th and 19th centuries. Painted in colorful enamels and elaborate gilding, these wares display patterns that reference East Asian aesthetics combined with European motifs such as landscapes, harbor scenes, flora, and fauna, both real and imagined. Of note are tea, coffee, and lemonade services, as well as tureens, coolers, butter dishes, salad bowls, and dessert dishes that highlight European gastronomical customs. This highlights 72 objects from our collection.
Women in Modern Scandinavian Design
Cooper Hewitt's collection includes works by some of the most influential women of 20th-century Scandinavian design, including Greta Magnusson Grossman (Swedish, 1906-1999), Aino Aalto (Finnish, 1894-1949), Nanna Ditzel (Danish, 1923-2005), and Armi Ratia (Finnish, 1912-1979). A selection of furniture, textiles, glasswares, metalwork, wallcoverings, and ceramics by these and other female Scandinavian designers are featured in this highlights group. This highlights 84 objects from our collection.
Women Artists: Textiles
Throughout the 20th century, women artists explored the purely artistic possibilities of traditional textile techniques like weaving, knitting, embroidery, and dyeing. While the practice is most closely associated with the Fiber Arts movement of the 1950s – 1970s, and with artists like Lenore Tawney and Sheila Hicks, it began long before with the expressive embroideries of Mariska Karasz and Marguerite Zorach and continues to the present day. This highlights 115 objects from our collection.
Each year, many new objects are added to Cooper Hewitt's collection. The examples shown here were purchased or donated in just the last few years. They include a wide variety of media and span the Renaissance to the 21st century, reflecting the great diversity of the museum's holdings. This highlights 136 objects from our collection.
These posters capture the psychedelic aesthetic, a brightly colored and disorienting style that flourished in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the earliest were produced to advertise concerts that took place in 1967, during San Francisco's "Summer of Love," when California's Bay Area hosted legendary performers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who. With their hallucinogenic graphics, these psychedelic posters embody one of the period's most iconic counterculture movements. This highlights 69 objects from our collection.
Lace from the Greenleaf Collection
Richard C. Greenleaf collected exceptional examples of 17th and 18th century European lace and embroidery while living in Paris before World War II. After relocating to New York, he donated his collections to the museum in a series of gifts beginning in 1950 and ending with his bequest in 1962. His gifts, totaling over 900 objects, have anchored several exhibitions, including "The Greenleaf Collection: Textile Arts from the 16th to early 19th Century" and “Fancy Fronts: Men’s Waistcoats from the 18th Century.” This highlights 213 objects from our collection.
In the Nursery: Wallpaper for Children's Spaces
These wallpapers were designed to decorate rooms inhabited by children. Some feature beloved stories, such as Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, The House that Jack Built, and Mother Goose. Others highlight activites that children might enjoy, with sports motifs or scenes of travel, games, and adventure. This highlights 108 objects from our collection.
From Sketch to Product
Many familiar designs began with an idea worked out on paper. Cooper Hewitt's collection includes many drawings that document the genesis of finished works of all kinds: textiles, wallpaper, furniture, mass-produced products for the office and home, decorative arts, and even fine art. This highlights 96 objects from our collection.
Designer Spotlight: Alice Cordelia Morse
Alice Cordelia Morse (1863-1961) was a prominent American artist of the Arts and Crafts movement who specialized in book-cover design. In 1879, Morse enrolled at the Women's Art School of the Cooper Union, one of the few educational institutions of the period that accepted female students. Early in her career she worked as a glass painter for the firm of Louis C. Tiffany, before returning to the Cooper Union for postgraduate training in art and design. She began designing book covers in the late 1880s, and quickly became one of the most sought-after artists in the field. When she retired, Morse gave a collection of her finished book covers to the Metropolitan Museum, and her designs for those covers (and some stained glass) to the Cooper Union Museum. Today, these graceful drawings are a highlight of Cooper Hewitt’s collection. This highlights 79 objects from our collection.
Celebrating Asian/ Pacific American Heritage Month
May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. Celebrate by exploring a selection of objects in Cooper Hewitt's collection made by American designers of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent. This highlights 60 objects from our collection.
Popular in the United States from around 1800-1850, bandboxes were originally intended to store and transport men’s collar bands. Made of pasteboard and covered with either a wallpaper or a specially printed bandbox paper, the lively decorated containers soon began serving as hat boxes and general carryalls as well. The boxes of greatest historical interest were produced in the 1830s; these often contain scenes of historical interest such as innovations in transportation and famous entertainment venues. Cooper Hewitt's collection includes many fine examples of these rare and fascinating items. This highlights 62 objects from our collection.
American Art Pottery
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an art-pottery renaissance took place in the United States, as pottery studios across the country elevated everyday forms into striking works of art. Cooper Hewitt's collection includes examples from some of the most prominent studios, including Rookwood, Ohr, Grueby, Newcomb, Rosewood, Marblehead, and Dedham. Although such workshops were most often led by men, several of the vases, tiles, pitchers, and bowls in this packages were decorated by women artists. This highlights 120 objects from our collection.
The museum’s collection of African textiles features a wide variety of traditions and techniques, including Kuba raffia embroidery from Congo, Ashanti strip weaving from Ghana, bogolanfini mudcloth from Mali, Nigerian adire indigo resists, and embroidered samplers from Morocco. In addition to textiles, the collection includes a small number of hats and examples of Zulu beadwork jewelry. This highlights 106 objects from our collection.