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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1981

  • Work on this object began.

2016

2019

  • You found it!

Nefertiti Teapot, ca. 1981

This is a Teapot. It was produced by Memphis. It is dated ca. 1981. Its medium is molded, glazed and enameled earthenware. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The form, colors, and pattern of this teapot designed by architect Matteo Thun in 1981, the year of Memphis’s founding, exemplify the group’s aim to offer creative perspectives on everyday objects. Here the typical format of the teapot as a triangle has been extruded and exaggerated; the handle juts upward at a cartoon-like pitch and the spout projects as a tubular extremity. The body of the pot is covered in a dense pattern resembling 1950’s laminate, a characteristic motif of Memphis objects. While the appearance of this object is decidedly contemporary, the teapot’s pattern name, Nefertiti, links it to the ancient past conjuring up associations between the teapot’s triangles and the form of the pyramid, also present in the other pieces in the tea set, a sugar bowl and cup and saucer. This combination of the new, the old, and the unexpected in this teapot represented the entirely fresh interpretation of design that Memphis pioneered.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 19.2 × 20.5 × 18 cm (7 9/16 × 8 1/16 × 7 1/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Nefertiti Teapot, ca. 1981; Produced by Memphis (Italy); molded, glazed and enameled earthenware; H x W x D: 19.2 × 20.5 × 18 cm (7 9/16 × 8 1/16 × 7 1/16 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-62-a.b

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/404734449/ |title=Nefertiti Teapot, ca. 1981 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>