Object Timeline

1952

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Textile, Aquaria, 1952

This is a Textile. It was designed by Richard Munsell and produced by Associated American Artists. It is dated 1952 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Painter and commercial illustrator Richard Munsell began creating advertising artwork for Maxwell House in the 1940s. His ads, the best known of which depicts coffee time at a living-room sewing bee, appeared within a series entitled “Part of the American Scene.” He also designed textiles that appealed to the American experience: lazy summer days spent at the shore.
Aquaria, which was produced in multiple colorways, is seen here with green and white fish swimming in a sea of pink with subtle light blue accents. A Signature Fabrics spread in the January 1953 issue of Harper’s Bazaar featured summer dresses for women and girls, the former constructed from Aquaria in this colorway and the latter from Sea Secrets, also by Munsell. (1)
A blue and green version of Aquaria appeared as a framed work of art in an advertisement for Signature Fabrics in Vogue Pattern Book (March 1953). (2)
(1) Karen J. Herbaugh, “Index of AAA Textile Designs,” in Art for Every Home: An Illustrated Index of Associated American Artists Prints, Ceramics, and Textile Designs (Manhattan, Kansas: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, Kansas State University, 2016), http://hdl.handle.net/2097/19686.
(2) Ibid.

It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection, museum purchase through gift of anonymous donor.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 185.4 × 90.2 cm (6 ft. 1 in. × 35 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Aquaria, 1952; Designed by Richard Munsell (American, 1903 - 1963); cotton; H x W: 185.4 × 90.2 cm (6 ft. 1 in. × 35 1/2 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection, museum purchase through gift of anonymous donor; 2016-35-9

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711527/ |title=Textile, Aquaria, 1952 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>