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Object Timeline

1920

  • Work on this object began.

1940

  • Work on this object ended.

1975

  • We acquired this object.

2015

2016

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Object ID #18485909

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Donald Deskey and drafted by Donald Deskey and from the office of Donald Deskey and made for (as the client) Gilbert Seldes. We acquired it in 1975. Its medium is brush and gouache, brush and silver paint, graphite on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

American designer Donald Deskey studied painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Atelier Léger in Paris, France from 1921 before returning to the US in 1923. Many of his early works — perhaps best known are his interiors for Radio City Music Hall — reflect this training and recall the abbreviated angularity of French Art Deco and the Cubists. A 1935 drawing for the design of the three-panel Lysistrata Lacquer Screen, featuring a fragmented female figure, is graphically simplified and imbued with Cubism’s limited palette. (Over the course of his career, Deskey proved particularly adept, becoming one of the most prolific screen-makers of his time. ) Yet it signals the shifting sentiments towards design that began to take hold in America as the culture departed from its European counterparts. From a growing desire and necessity for the mass market came the emergence of a uniquely American expression in the applied arts. Designers, including Deskey, would come to embrace designing for mass production even as many continued to work with private wealthy clients, as Deskey did with this floor screen for author Gilbert Seldes.

This object was donated by Donald Deskey.

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Cite this object as

Object ID #18485909; Designed by Donald Deskey (American, 1894–1989); USA; brush and gouache, brush and silver paint, graphite on illustration board; 1975-11-13

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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