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Object Timeline

-0001

1947

  • Work on this object began.

1950

  • Work on this object ended.

2000

2008

2015

2019

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Model No. 5905-20 Flower Floater/candle Holder, 1948–50

This is a Flower floater/candle holder. It was designed by Eva Lisa (Pipsan) Saarinen Swanson and manufactured by U.S. Glass Company. It is dated 1948–50 and we acquired it in 2000. Its medium is glass. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Eva Lisa (Pipsan) Saarinen Swanson is part of an influential design family. Her father was the architect and designer Eliel Saarinen, her mother was the textile designer and sculptor, Loja Saarinen, and her brother was architect Eero Saarinen. Pipsan was born in Finland in 1905 and moved with her family to the United States in 1923. The family eventually settled in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where Saarinen became the resident architect at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Pipsan was involved with her father’s projects at Cranbrook, including designing decorative motifs for the Cranbrook School for Boys (1926), the Saarinen House (1930), and the Kingswood School Cranbrook (1931). She began teaching costume and interior design at Cranbrook in the early 1930s and collaborated on interior design projects with her husband’s architectural firm. (Her husband, J. Robert F. Swanson, was a former student of Saarinen’s). In 1939, she created, with her husband and father, the Flexible Home Arrangements group of furniture, manufactured by Johnson Furniture Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to provide contemporary furniture appropriate to the modern structures Swanson was designing.
The Saarinen Swanson Group debuted in 1947, with integrated designs for furniture, fabrics, lamps, metalwork, glassware, and pottery. In addition to Pipsan and Swanson, other designers who contributed to the Saarinen Swanson Group were textile designer Marianne Strengell, ceramist Lydia Winston, architect and designer Benjamin Baldwin, and sculptor Charles Dusenbury.
The Saarinen Swanson Group formed to embody contemporary design and offer versatility and affordability for the modern postwar home. In addition to the Flower Floater/Candleholder no. 5905-20, Pipsan’s other designs for the Saarinen Swanson Group included screen printed textiles for the Goodall Fabric Company of New York, lights for the Mutual Sunset Lamp Manufacturing Company of New York, and modestly-priced glassware for the United States Glass Company in Tiffin, Ohio. Pipsan later provided a successful line of indoor outdoor furniture, the Sol-Air Group, produced by Ficks Reed Company; her textile designs in the 1950s and 1960s included screen printed fabrics for Edwin Raphael Company, an award-winning design shown at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958, and rug designs for E. T. Barwick Mills.[1]
The Flower Floater/Candleholder no. 5905-20 is in excellent condition and will help Cooper-Hewitt’s collection tell more fully the story of modernist glass design in the immediate postwar years. It will join work in our collection from designers like Russel Wright (for Morgantown) and George Sakier (for Fostoria). Pipsan’s work also helps to document designs by the prominent Saarinen family, and will serve to highlight the still undersung contributions of female designers during this period.

This object was donated by Ashley Brown. It is credited Gift of Ashley Dawn Brown.

Its dimensions are

4 x 24 x 38.8 cm (1 9/16 x 9 7/16 x 15 1/4 in. )

Cite this object as

Model No. 5905-20 Flower Floater/candle Holder, 1948–50; Designed by Eva Lisa (Pipsan) Saarinen Swanson (American, b. Finland, 1905 – 1979); USA; glass; 4 x 24 x 38.8 cm (1 9/16 x 9 7/16 x 15 1/4 in. ); Gift of Ashley Dawn Brown; 2000-16-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730-2008.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18684087/ |title=Model No. 5905-20 Flower Floater/candle Holder, 1948–50 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>