Object Timeline

1953

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Textile, Paper Dolls, 1953

This is a Textile. It was designed by William Ward Beecher 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.

In Paper Dolls, one of many trompe-l’oeil designs by William Ward Beecher, blue paper cut-outs join at the hands and feet in the form of a child’s paper chain. The figures cast shadows on the beige ground behind them, so that they appear to hover above the surface.
The February 17, 1953 issue of Women’s Wear Daily mentioned this design: “Artists of the Magic Realism school have turned out some print ideas of especial interest. These are characterized by naturalistic motifs highlighted with a shadow treatment, giving them a three-dimensional effect that makes them appear to stand out from the ground. In this technique is a design of checkers on a checkerboard, one of paper dolls, and a neat small one using single jewels.”
A swatch of Paper Dolls appeared in a Signature Fabrics advertisement in the April-May 1953 Vogue Pattern Book. (1)
This is one of five distinct designs by Beecher proposed for acquisition.
(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: 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, gift of Gail Windisch.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 366 × 95.8 cm (12 ft. 1/8 in. × 37 11/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Paper Dolls, 1953; Designed by William Ward Beecher (American, 1921 - 2006); cotton; H x W: 366 × 95.8 cm (12 ft. 1/8 in. × 37 11/16 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection, gift of Gail Windisch; 2016-35-57

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711651/ |title=Textile, Paper Dolls, 1953 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=15 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>