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Object Timeline

1937

  • Work on this object began.

2010

  • We acquired this object.

2011

2015

2019

  • You found it!

American Modern Celery Dish

This is a Celery dish. It was designed by Russel Wright. We acquired it in 2010. Its medium is glazed, molded earthenware. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

With its flowing organic forms, American industrial designer Russel Wright's American modern dinnerware was unlike anything else designed for the American market in 1937. It was considered so radical that it took Wright two years to find a manufacturer willing to produce it. The design of the service, which included idiosyncratic serving pieces such as this celery dish with folded rim, expressed Wright's philosophy of informal entertaining. The pieces were to be used in interchangeable combinations of six subdued, earthy colors: seafoam blue, granite gray, chartreuse, curry, coral, bean brown, and warm white. Consumers were encouraged to buy place settings at a low price in the hope that they would later complete their sets from open stock. The pattern proved very popular, selling over 80 million pieces between 1939 and 1959.
This undulating celery dish characterizes Wright's work at its most organic. Its acquisition would broaden the museum’s collection of this key figure in 20th-century design, while also adding to the story of American modern style.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled American Modernizing.

This object was donated by Max Pine.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Cite this object as

American Modern Celery Dish; Designed by Russel Wright (American, 1904–1976); USA; glazed, molded earthenware; 2010-2-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18741171/ |title=American Modern Celery Dish |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>