This modernist velour furnishing fabric designed in 1934 was produced in an area of northern France where weaving centers like Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing manufactured fabrics for use on airplanes, trains, and boats. During this era, escalating industrialization facilitated mass transportation, which led to an increased emphasis on travel. This cultural shift not only introduced the need for furnishing fabrics, but also called for more modern designs. In the case of this particular textile, the abstract design is suggestive of a cityscape, which is typical of art deco patterns popular at the time. While floral and more figurative patterns were also well received, abstraction steadily gained popularity between the mid-1920s and 30s due in part to the influence of cubism and the Wiener Werkstätte, as well as the rise of functionalism, which was opposed to any type of ornamentation.
The designer and manufacturer of this woven furnishing fabric are unknown. The label, however, indicates that it was woven as an essai or sample made prior to possible production. The extraordinary range of color, the rarity of woven velvets of this period, and the exceptional condition of this textile make this an important art deco piece—an area of important collection consideration. In addition, the bold motif of this textile is evocative of the work of important art deco textile designers such as Sonia Delaunay and Raoul Dufy.
It is credited
Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.
Its dimensions are
Warp x Weft: 45.7 x 128.9 cm (18 x 50 3/4 in.)
It is inscribed
original hang tag dated 1934
Cite this object as
Textile (France); cotton; Warp x Weft: 45.7 x 128.9 cm (18 x 50 3/4 in.); Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2006-6-1
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Looking Forward/ Looking Back: Recent Acquisitions in 20th- and 21st-Century Design.