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Drawing, Design for Hooked Rug with Geometric Pattern

This is a Drawing. It was from the office of Donald Deskey and drafted by Donald Deskey and manufactured by Aird & Watson. It is dated ca. 1934 and we acquired it in 1975. Its medium is brush and gouache, graphite on cream illustration board . It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Minnesota-native Donald Deskey (1894 to 1989) made a significant contribution to the popularization of modern design in America with a prolific career that spanned from decorative arts objects to packaging design to prefabricated housing. Deskey was equally versatile in his designs for carpets — from western-themes of cowboy hats and boots with spurs to this drawing for a geometric pattern for a rug. Often beginning projects with involved sketches, the designer explored abstract constructions by using mostly subtle colors and rectangular shapes juxtaposed against a series of tiny black circles. Early American hooked rugs date from the 1850s and were hand-crafted by pulling loops of fabric through a stiff base (usually burlap). But in the 1930s, hooked rugs gained a modernist caché as artists and designers began experimenting with new styles and machine looping became a preferred method of production, particularly on the East coast. (Deskey had many of his woven by the New England Guild in Portland, Maine.) This study — seemingly inspired by the simplicity of abstract painting — reflects an exciting period in the history of the modernization of the decorative arts.

This object was donated by Donald Deskey. It is credited Gift of Donald Deskey.

Its dimensions are

29.2 x 24.2 cm (11 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.) Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, upper center: I think black is too strong with / red & green & tan; in graphite, center left: Dont / like / this / [arrow] / area; in graphite, lower left: Green should be darker & greyer more like your sample. / Red should be more orange - see enclosed.; in graphite, lower right: [arrow] / this / could be red?; on verso: Aird & Watson / Textile Bldg / 32nd on 5th Ave / Mr Mahoney / Colors tufts / New England hooked rugs

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for Hooked Rug with Geometric Pattern; Office of Donald Deskey (American, 1894–1989); Manufactured by Aird & Watson; USA; brush and gouache, graphite on cream illustration board ; 29.2 x 24.2 cm (11 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.) Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.); Gift of Donald Deskey; 1975-11-44

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Design for Hooked Rug with Geometric Pattern |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>