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Object Timeline

1945

  • Work on this object began.

1955

  • Work on this object ended.

2005

2013

2021

  • You found it!

Textile, late 1940s–mid-1950s

This is a Textile. It is dated late 1940s–mid-1950s and we acquired it in 2005. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This charming cotton dress fabric was anonymously donated and remains anonymous itself, as there are no designer or manufacturer markings in the selvedges. It was probably intended for the home-sewing market, for which many so-called “conversational” prints were produced and made into women’s full, gathered shirts or men’s casual shirts.
This piece satirizes the postwar housing boom and the introduction of modern architecture into the American landscape. Each horizontal stripe depicts a suburban landscape, with tidy front walkways branching off a street, each leading to a house of a different architectural style—every third house is “modern.”
Although not categorized as a high-end fabric, the pattern is sophisticated and, together with 2005-32-2, would provide a witty commentary on the cultural scene in the United States in the postwar years.

This object was donated by Unknown donor: unsolicited gift. It is credited Gift of Unknown Donor.

Its dimensions are

Warp x Weft: 598 x 80 cm (19 ft. 7 7/16 in. x 31 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, late 1940s–mid-1950s; cotton; Warp x Weft: 598 x 80 cm (19 ft. 7 7/16 in. x 31 1/2 in.); Gift of Unknown Donor; 2005-32-1

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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=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18704273/ |title=Textile, late 1940s–mid-1950s |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 April 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>