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Sidewall, Celui qui aime écrit sur les murs (One who loves writes on the walls)

This is a Sidewall. It was designed by Jean Lurçat. It is dated ca. 1924 and we acquired it in 1930. Its medium is block printed on paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Celui qui aime ecrit sur les murs [One who loves writes on the walls] is one of the few Dada-inspired wallpapers in the Museum collection. The imagery contains numerous birds and foliage mixed in with bits of musical scores, all tilted and overlapping, bearing unusual patterns, and rather nonsensical to say the least. While a design of this nature could turn out to be a disaster in its density, the transparency and stylization of the elements renders the design rather flat and forms a nice overall pattern, with enough voids in the printed matter to allow the eyes some rest. The Museum contains this design is three different colorways.
Dada was an art movement of the avante-garde launched in Zurich in 1916 as a reaction to the horrors of the Great War. Dada rejected logic, and nonsense was one of its prevailing attributes. As strongly emotional as this movement was it was rather short lived and in only a few years was preempted by the Surrealists.
Jean Lurçat was a French painter and designer who is probably best known for the role he played in the revival of the design and weaving of tapestries in the 20th century. The wallpaper design is styled in the same manner as his paintings and tapestries in that he is creating a dense pattern but keeps it feeling light and almost transparent.

It is credited Gift of Mrs. Cornelius Sullivan.

  • Textile, IBM
  • linen.
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund.
  • 2001-1-3

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Dress (USA)
  • cotton.
  • Gift of Elena Phipps in honor of Helene Phipps.
  • 2013-5-1

Its dimensions are

51 x 48 cm (20 1/16 x 18 7/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, Celui qui aime écrit sur les murs (One who loves writes on the walls); Designed by Jean Lurçat (French, 1892–1966); France; block printed on paper; 51 x 48 cm (20 1/16 x 18 7/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. Cornelius Sullivan; 1930-21-1-d

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sidewall, Celui qui aime écrit sur les murs (One who loves writes on the walls) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>