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Object Timeline

-0001

1930

  • Work on this object ended.

1938

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2015

2020

  • You found it!

Textile (Italy), 1900–30

This is a Textile. It was designed by Mariano Fortuny. It is dated 1900–30 and we acquired it in 1938. Its medium is foundation warp and weft: cotton; pile warp: silk and its technique is printed on supplementary warp pile (velvet). It is a part of the Textiles Department department.

Mariano Fortuny and his family collected textiles and costumes from around the world, compiling a rich resource that served as inspiration for his own designs. “A fabric design,” he once noted, “concretely captures a moment through the skill of the artist, who responds unconsciously to the place and time in which he lives.” This pattern of artichokes on serpentine trunks recalls 15th century Italian velvets. While the originals were sumptuously woven with gold metallic threads, Fortuny interpreted the style through a variety of surface treatments of his own invention.

To achieve the mottled, aged look, a discharge agent appears to have been hand-applied to areas of the surface, bleaching the red dye from the silk pile. The discharge was also applied through a stencil to create a pattern. A corresponding stencil was then used to brush on an adhesive, onto which gold-colored (probably bronze) powder was applied. The metallic areas were then likely beaten and polished in the pile direction, to create uniformly soft and luxurious velvet.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Inventive Surface Treatments for Textiles.

This object was bequest of Erskine Hewitt. It is credited Bequest of Erskine Hewitt.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 500 x 95 cm (196 7/8 x 37 3/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile (Italy), 1900–30; Designed by Mariano Fortuny (Spanish, active Italy, 1871 - 1949); foundation warp and weft: cotton; pile warp: silk; H x W: 500 x 95 cm (196 7/8 x 37 3/8 in.); Bequest of Erskine Hewitt; 1938-57-1226-a

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18348149/ |title=Textile (Italy), 1900–30 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=6 June 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>