Cooper Hewitt says...
Marguerita Mergentime (1894–1941) was a New York-based textile and industrial designer active in the interwar years. A pupil of industrial designer Ilonka Karasz, she designed tableware and cooking utensils, but is best known as a textile designer, particularly of witty silkscreened table linens. She designed fabrics for Kohn-Hall-Marx Co., Goodall Manufacturing, Glendale Linen Company, and Schwartzenbach-Huber.
Mergentime was a member of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen (AUDAC), founded in 1928. Its members included important designers such as Norman Bel Geddes, Paul Frankl, Frederick Kiesler, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Along with the better-known textile designer Ruth Reeves, Mergentime was commissioned by Donald Deskey to create textiles for the interior of Radio City Music Hall; Mergentime’s designs include the carpet for the Grand Lounge and the wallcoverings for the ladies lounge on the third mezzanine.
A stylish and intelligent New Yorker with a keen sense of humor, Mergentime drew inspiration for her works from folk art, politics, history, and human nature, frequently combining images and text to create conversation-starters for the table. Her popular “Food for Thought” tablecloths, for example, were printed with political slogans from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. She was also an avid sailor, and nautical themes were a regular feature. Coordinated color schemes allowed women to mix and match from different sets.
Mergentime’s work was exhibited in the 1931 AUDAC exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, World’s Fair in New York and the Golden Gate International Exhibition in 1939, the American Industrial Arts exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1940, and again at the Brooklyn Museum after her death in 1941.