Object Timeline

1953

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2020

  • You found it!

Textile, Strange Birds, 1953

This is a Textile. It was designed by Ann Smith and produced by Associated American Artists. It is dated 1953 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed. It is a part of the Textiles Department department.

Strange Birds, created by Ann Smith, was part of the 1954 Signature Explorarta series. In the colorway presented here, stylized birds are drawn in heavy-handed black outlines against a mottled pink ground. The birds are partially filled in, as a child would color with crayons, in orange, blue, and yellow.
A Louise Dahl-Wolfe photograph published in Harper’s Bazaar (January 1954) features a model dressed in separates, fashioned from Strange Birds, pulling sketches out of an oversized portfolio covered in the same print. (1)
Sportswear designer Pembroke Squires of Masket Bros. created a dress and skirt from this design in multiple colorways; the pieces appear in the same issue of Harper’s Bazaar. (2)
(1) Gail Windisch, Sylvan Cole Jr., and Karen J. Herbaugh, Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934-2000 (Manhattan: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, Kansas State University, 2016): 209.
(2) 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: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, Kansas State University, 2016), http://hdl.handle.net/2097/19686.

This object was donated by American Textile History Museum. It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 152.4 × 88.9 cm (60 × 35 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Strange Birds, 1953; Designed by Ann Smith ; cotton; H x W: 152.4 × 88.9 cm (60 × 35 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection; 2016-35-37

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711599/ |title=Textile, Strange Birds, 1953 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 April 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>