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Object Timeline

1945

  • Work on this object began.

1955

  • Work on this object ended.

2021

  • We acquired this object.

2022

  • You found it!

Dress, Filigree, introduced 1950

This is a Dress. It was designed by Dorothy Cole Ruddick and produced by Knoll Textiles. It is dated introduced 1950 and we acquired it in 2021. Its medium is rayon and its technique is screen printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The delicate, wire-like forms of Dorothy Cole Ruddick’s Filigree textile, introduced in 1950, reflect the mid-century American interest in lightness and transparency. This trend is also seen in Harry Bertoia’s wire furniture, introduced by Knoll two years later, and in the sculpture of Ruddick’s Black Mountain College classmate, Ruth Asawa.
Knoll, like other manufacturers, looked to designers from other fields to refresh their textile offerings; in 1950, Hans Knoll invited a group of artists and architects, including Ruddick, to submit designs. Filigree was Ruddick’s only venture into textile design, but it was a successful one. The fabric was included in the exhibitions Good Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Living Up-to-Date: An Exhibition of New Designs for the Home at the Baltimore Museum of Art, both in 1951, and in Textilien aus USA, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, in 1952. Ruddick was also featured with a group of Knoll designers in Look magazine in May 1951.
In the piece proposed for acquisition, the fabric is used in a dress that was designed and worn by Ruddick. Although the museum does not collect fashion, it is advantageous to be able to show textiles as three-dimensional objects. In addition, Ruddick’s fabric would add to the museum’s collection of artist-designed textiles from the 1950s.

This object was donated by Margie Ruddick, Lisa Ruddick and Abby Ruddick. It is credited Gift of Abby, Lisa and Margie Ruddick.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 101.6 x 45.7 cm (40 x 18 in.) approx.

Cite this object as

Dress, Filigree, introduced 1950; Designed by Dorothy Cole Ruddick (American, 1925 - 2010); USA; rayon; H x W: 101.6 x 45.7 cm (40 x 18 in.) approx.; Gift of Abby, Lisa and Margie Ruddick; 2021-43-1

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/18789013/ |title=Dress, Filigree, introduced 1950 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>