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Object Timeline

-0001

1930

  • Work on this object began.

1931

  • Work on this object ended.

1975

  • We acquired this object.

2011

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Drawing, Textile Design: "The Rum Runners"

This is a Drawing. It was created by Donald Deskey and drafted by Donald Deskey. We acquired it in 1975. Its medium is stencil and airbrushed black, blue, and violet watercolor, pen and blue and black ink, graphite on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

American-born designer Donald Deskey (1894-1989) had an important association with the textile industry, particularly in the 1930s when he became known for both his experimentation with new materials such as Rayon and Permatex and for developing unique patterns. Deskey received numerous commissions for commercial and residential interiors throughout his five-decades-long career that incorporate his textile designs. This drawing for a design of small, stylized boats was intended for a silk cloth. The seafaring motifs free-float on a cream-colored background and alternate from right side up to upside down positions. Rum Runners (1930-1931), as the piece is titled, documents an aspect of American domestic life from that period that negotiated between Depression-era conservatism and the optimistic lure of modernism. Each boat in Deskey’s design carries a flag with skull and crossbones, alluding to the business of pirated liquor known as rum-running, which was popular during the prohibition of alcohol before its repeal in 1933 by the Twenty-First Amendment.

This object was donated by Donald Deskey.

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Cite this object as

Drawing, Textile Design: "The Rum Runners"; Donald Deskey (American, 1894–1989); USA; stencil and airbrushed black, blue, and violet watercolor, pen and blue and black ink, graphite on illustration board; 1975-11-33

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18486505/ |title=Drawing, Textile Design: "The Rum Runners" |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>