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Object Timeline

1943

  • Work on this object began.

2001

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2015

2020

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Drawing, Textile Design: Indian Heads, 1943

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Angelo Testa. It is dated 1943 and we acquired it in 2001. Its medium is brush and gouache, graphite on heavy cream paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Sculptor, painter, and designer Angelo Testa was a pioneer of dynamic, linear textiles in the postwar period, and contributed to the rise of modern printed textiles in both the US and Europe. His compositions are abstract, geometric, and often playful, adding touches of humanity to the strict functionalism of the International Style design of the time. In the early 1940s, he studied under esteemed designers László Moholy-Nagy and Marli Ehrman at the New Bauhaus at Chicago’s Institute of Design, who taught theories of universality, geometry, and non-ornamental design. However, contradicting the Bauhaus ideal of cohesive form and function, Testa often designed for screen- or roller-printed textiles rather than for woven compositions. As early as his student days, he had formulated a theory on textile design: “Texture should be emphasized where the decorative function of the fabric is minimized, and color and form where the function is purely decorative.” This theory can be seen in “Indian Heads,” where the repeat patterns harmonize with surrounding white space. Designed while still a student in 1942, the work attests to Testa's early success: the textile appeared in a 1948 Arts & Architecture article, and was manufactured by prominent manufacturer Knoll Associates.

This object was donated by General Acquisitions Endowment. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

Its dimensions are

60.2 x 45.5 cm (24 x 17 15/16 in. )

It is signed

Signed and dated in pen and black ink, lower right: testa / '43

It is inscribed

Inscribed in pen and black ink, lower left: #112; in graphite, lower left verso: Lot 61

Cite this object as

Drawing, Textile Design: Indian Heads, 1943; Designed by Angelo Testa (American, 1921–1984); USA; brush and gouache, graphite on heavy cream paper; 60.2 x 45.5 cm (24 x 17 15/16 in. ); Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 2001-11-2

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