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Hanging, New York Waterfront, 1926–53

This is a Hanging. It was designed by Lydia Bush-Brown and made by Lydia Bush-Brown. It is dated 1926–53 and we acquired it in 1974. Its medium is silk and its technique is hand drawn wax resist dyed (batik), plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Batik, an ancient craft often associated with Indonesia, became popular in United States in the 1910s and 20s, with artists such as Arthur Crisp, Pieter Mijer, and Lydia Bush-Brown attracting national attention. These artists worked in the traditional manner, painting paraffin and beeswax on their cloth to create a resist, but expanded the traditional design vocabulary to include patterns inspired by contemporary design and painterly subjects such as landscapes and still lifes. Bush-Brown gained acclaim for her wax-resist illustrations depicting scenes both imagined and real. This example depicts the Manhattan skyline, capturing New York City’s industrial expansion with factories billowing with smoke, and skyscrapers, two of which are under construction. Based in Greenwich Village, Bush-Brown would have borne witness to this expansion. Whether or not she supported it remains open to interpretation.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Lydia's New York.

It is credited Gift of Lydia Bush-Brown.

  • Object ID #18468717
  • black crayon, stumped, pen and black ink, brush and black wash, varnish on....
  • 1969-137-4

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 90.5 x 123 cm (35 5/8 x 48 7/16 in.)

It is signed

Artist's monogram in lower right: LBBH

Cite this object as

Hanging, New York Waterfront, 1926–53; Designed by Lydia Bush-Brown (American, 1887–1984); USA; silk; H x W: 90.5 x 123 cm (35 5/8 x 48 7/16 in.); Gift of Lydia Bush-Brown; 1974-23-6

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Hanging, New York Waterfront, 1926–53 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 January 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>