Cooper-Hewitt Museum

Related Overviews

Henry Dreyfuss (1904—1972)

Donald Deskey (1894—1989)

Gilbert Rohde (1894—1944)


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  • Industrial and Commercial Art


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(established 1897)

Established in New York as the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration (as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art) it was aimed at design students and designers and was concerned with everyday design. Located in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion on 5th Avenue, New York, it was dedicated to the collecting and exhibiting of both contemporary and historical design. However, a distinct shift of emphasis was brought about through the appointment in 1946 of Calvin S. Hathaway, from the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. He was director from 1951 until 1967 when the library and collections were taken over by the Smithsonian Institution. In 1976 it moved premises, was renamed the Cooper‐Hewitt National Museum of Design, and came under the directorship of Lisa Taylor. The collection contains more than 250,000 objects over a large chronological period and is organized in four departments: Product Design and Decorative Arts; Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design; Textiles; and Wallcoverings. In addition to its extensive holdings of objects, drawings, and photographs there are a number of important design archives including those of Henry Dreyfuss, Donald Deskey, and Gilbert Rohde. The museum has also mounted a series of design exhibitions which embrace graphic design, industrial design, architecture, and the decorative arts. The Cooper‐Hewitt inaugurated the National Design Awards in 1997 and, in 1998, a state‐of‐the‐art Design Resources Center was established in a building physically linked to the Andrew Carnegie Mansion by the Agnes Bourne Bridge Gallery.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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