So, if you are going to make an entrance, make it a grand one.
Evening dress by Callot Soeurs of Paris, 1923-26. Perl, floss, metallic thread, silk, velvet
On loan from Museum of the City of New York for the Jazz Age exhibition
Mirror, ca. 1930, designed by Paul Fehér. Wrought iron, brass, silver, gold plating, glass
Staircase model, France, mid-late 19th century
Carved, joined, turned, bent and planed oak
Dress and Jacket with box and lid, Delphos
Designed by Mariano Fortuny with his inimitable pleating technique and natural dyeing process, this particular example of the iconic Delphos dress is in its original box, which has both the name of the buyer, Mrs. J.H. Lorentzen of Pasadena California, and the seller, Elsie McNeil. This provides a key into the importance of the American market in Fortuny’s success. The first photograph of a Delphos dress is by Alfred Steiglitz—a portrait of his sister taken in 1907. By 1912, Fortuny’s gowns were being sold in New York. Because they hug the body and were designed to be worn without a corset, in Europe the Delphos was considered a tea gown—suitable only for at-home entertaining. But American actresses and dancers like Lillian Gish and Isadora Duncan wore them in public as evening gowns. In 1927 Elsie McNeil, an American interior designer, became so enamored of Fortuny’s fabrics that she went to Italy and persuaded him to give her the exclusive rights to sell his products in the US. She became his close friend, protégé, and guardian angel—she helped him through some very difficult financial times in the 1930s and after WWII, and purchased the company after his death.
Mural (detail), The World of Radio, 1934
Designed by Arthur Gordon Smith, for Nadea Dragonette Loftus and Jessica Dragonette
Staircase model, France, late 18th century
Carved, joined, bent, planed and carved pear, wrought brass wire, turned bone
This fine triple-height staircase model is similar to one designed by Robert Adam for 20 Portman Place in London.
Curved staircase model in the French style, ca. 1850
Carved, planed, turned and veneered walnut
From The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, April through August 2017
July 30th, 2017