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Hanging, Houses on a Street

This is a Hanging. It was designed by Lydia Van Gelder. It is dated 1939 and we acquired it in 1996. Its medium is cotton and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous wefts (tapestry). It is a part of the Textiles department.

California textile artist Lydia van Gelder created this piece for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Best known now for her contributions to the fiber art movement of the 1960s and 70's, it serves as a unique reminder of her early engagement with the modernist aesthetics championed at the Exposition.

The Exposition unfolded over the course of eight months on San Francisco's newly-minted purpose-built Treasure Island. The exhibition’s architectural program merged design elements from both eastern and western pacific coasts in a modern style then dubbed pacifica. Selected under the direction of textile designer Dorothy Wright Liebes, Van Gelder was among 110 artist-craftspeople exhibited in the Decorative Arts hall. Nearly a quarter of those exhibited were Californian, signaling the vitality of the state’s arts and crafts sector to the Exposition’s more than ten million visitors.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled At the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

This object was donated by Lydia Van Gelder. It is credited Gift of Lydia Van Gelder.

  • Hanging, Vitae
  • linen, wool, silk.
  • Gift of Elizabeth Gordon.
  • 1964-24-65

Its dimensions are

H x W: 210.8 x 62.2 cm (6 ft. 11 in. x 24 1/2 in.)

It is inscribed

Woven label sewn to bottom right corner: LYDIA LUCILLE, HANDWOVEN

Cite this object as

Hanging, Houses on a Street; Designed by Lydia Van Gelder (American, 1911–2012); USA; cotton; H x W: 210.8 x 62.2 cm (6 ft. 11 in. x 24 1/2 in.); Gift of Lydia Van Gelder; 1996-47-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Hanging, Houses on a Street |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>