Date of Award
Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design
In the spring of 1947, the Onondaga Silk Company collaborated with the Midtown Galleries of New York City to create the "American Artist Print Series." This collaboration, drawing upon the familiar practice of using well-known international artists as textile designers, resulted in a collection of dress fabrics inspired by works of lesser-known American artists. The goal was to bring American art to the fashionable consumer. Ideas and influences from art, industrial design, textile design and fashion design from the first half of the twentieth century are reflected in this series.
This study explores the development of the "American Artist Print Series" starting with the conception of the idea of using American artists" works as the inspiration for fashionable textile fabrics. Paintings from selected artists represented by the Midtown Galleries were chosen by the silk company. Industrial designers then adapted the motifs for screen printing on silk and rayon fabrics. Finally, leading contemporary American ready-to-wear designers, including Sophie of Saks, Nettie Rosenstein, and Jo Copeland, created fashionable garments with the fabrics. The complete series, from paintings to finished garments, was presented to the American public through exhibition in major museums and department stores.
The Onondaga venture was a commercial success, encouraging continued collaboration with the Midtown galleries and its artists. This study recognizes the contribution of a New York Art Gallery and of a little-known American textile company to both the fields of textile design and art history. It may encourage future study of other designs produced through similar processes; further study of design in the 1940s, a period which has been little recognized in scholarly literature is needed.
Primary sources included paintings, textile samples, extant garments and photographic representations, letters, notes, and the original label copy from the exhibition. Secondary studies and contemporary articles were consulted for information concerning early twentieth century art, industrial design, textile design, and fashion design.
Lund, Amy C., "Art and Textile Design: The Onondaga Silk Company's "American Artist Print Series" of 1947" (1993). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1566.