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Textile, 1950s

This is a Textile. It is dated 1950s and we acquired it in 2005. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Little is known about such dress-weight cotton fabrics, as there are often no designer or manufacturer markings in the selvedges. They were probably intended for the home-sewing market. This fabric had been previously made up as a dirndl skirt; dirndl skirts require very little cutting, so there is a continuous length.
This particular pattern depicts fashionable ladies of the 1950s visiting a museum, perhaps MoMA in New York City: one of the artworks is recognizable as Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy (1897), which is in the collection of MoMA. The remaining works appear to be a vase with sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh, a harlequin painting by Pablo Picasso, a portrait by Henri Matisse, a small canvas by Piet Mondrian, and a sculpture by Alexander Calder. These works, however, appear to be more generalized references rather than depictions of specific works.
Although not categorized as a high-end fabric, the pattern is sophisticated and, together with 2005-32-1, provides a witty commentary on the cultural scene in the United States in the postwar years.

This object was donated by Unknown donor: unsolicited gift. It is credited Gift of Unknown Donor.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 271.8 × 80 cm (8 ft. 11 in. × 31 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, 1950s; cotton; H x W: 271.8 × 80 cm (8 ft. 11 in. × 31 1/2 in.); Gift of Unknown Donor; 2005-32-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, 1950s |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>