The image is © 1956 Cowtan and Tout. See our image rights statement.

 

Object Timeline

1956

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2018

2021

  • You found it!

Textile, Midsummer

This is a Textile. It was designed by Don Wight and produced by Jack Lenor Larsen Incorporated. It is dated 1956 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is screen printed on cut supplementary warp pile (velvet). It is a part of the Textiles department.

Midsummer, along with Primavera, was one of Larsen’s early and wildly successful prints on velvet. The design was so popular, in fact, that the studio collected forty-two copies of it in the years after its release.
As inspiration for the pattern, Larsen took images of the work of Henri Matisse and Louis Comfort Tiffany to Don Wight, the designer. In the late 1950s, it was nearly impossible to screen print complex patterns on traditional velvets, as the dye could not penetrate the thick pile. After extensive experimentation, Larsen’s studio successfully wove a cotton velvet which was luxurious to the touch, but with a pile low enough to take the hand screen print dye with no loss of color intensity -- a first in the American textile industry. The deeply saturated hues and loosely layered design clicked with the exuberant aesthetic of the sixties.

This object was donated by Longhouse Reserve. It is credited Cowtan and Tout Larsen Archive Collection, Gift of Longhouse Reserve.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 375.9 × 140.3 cm (12 ft. 4 in. × 55 1/4 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed on left selvedge: "Midsummer" by Don Wight for Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc.

Cite this object as

Textile, Midsummer; Designed by Don Wight (American, 1924–1999); cotton; H x W: 375.9 × 140.3 cm (12 ft. 4 in. × 55 1/4 in.); Cowtan and Tout Larsen Archive Collection, Gift of Longhouse Reserve; 2016-32-17-a

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/673135645/ |title=Textile, Midsummer |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 October 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>