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Textile, Medici, 1930s–40s

This is a Textile. It was designed by Mariano Fortuny. It is dated 1930s–40s and we acquired it in 2006. Its medium is cotton and its technique is dyed and printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This particular example of Medici was designed by Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo and manufactured in his factory sometime during the 1930s or 1940s. The design is difficult to date because the Fortuny Factory continues to produce the same pattern, using the same machines, dye recipes, techniques, and long staple Egyptian cotton foundation now as it did then. This pattern was first printed in the 1930s and is still produced in the same colorway. The ground fabric has a marbled effect in shades of pink and red, possibly achieved with a partial discharge technique, and is overprinted with silver metallic ink in an arabesque pattern.
Fortuny began his career as a painter, etcher, and sculptor, but early on developed an interest in design and decorative arts, creating textiles, fashions, lamps, furniture, interiors, and designs for the stage. Believing that the artist should control every detail of production, Fortuny also invented and patented his own processes and machinery in areas as varied as photography, lighting design, and textile printing.
Fortuny was born in Madrid and raised in Paris. He eventually made Venice his home and established his business there. His textile mill has remained in almost continuous operation since it began with the introduction of the Delphos dress in 1907, only closing briefly after Fortuny’s death. Fortuny’s textile designs draw heavily on the woven silks of Renaissance Italy, but also are inspired by the Persian silks, Coptic Egyptian ornament, and classical Greek garment styles he encountered in his extensive travels. Although he emulated the patterns, rich colors, and metallic sheen of these woven silks, Fortuny used silkscreen technology and his own patented dyeing and printing processes, which involved natural dyes, discharge or bleaching agents, and metallic inks.
Medici is part of a gift of three Fortuny textiles. Together, the pieces would enhance the small collection of Fortuny fabrics held by the museum at the time of acquisition, which includes a stencil-printed curtain panel, a stencil-printed silk tunic, a dyed and printed cotton velvet with silk pile, and a cotton fabric made by the same process as the pieces offered.

This object was donated by Esme Usdan. It is credited Gift of Esme Usdan.

Its dimensions are

Warp x Weft: 644 x 130 cm (21 ft. 1 9/16 in. x 51 3/16 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed along edge, "Made in Italy Mariano Fortuny Depose"

Cite this object as

Textile, Medici, 1930s–40s; Designed by Mariano Fortuny (Spanish, active Italy, 1871 - 1949); Italy; cotton; Warp x Weft: 644 x 130 cm (21 ft. 1 9/16 in. x 51 3/16 in.); Gift of Esme Usdan; 2006-19-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, Medici, 1930s–40s |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 January 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>