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Textile, Family Album

This is a Textile. It was designed by Laura Jean Allen and produced by Associated American Artists. It is dated 1952 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Laura Jean Allen’s Family Album was included in the Pioneer Pathways collection released by Riverdale Fabrics in 1952. Her design, in which framed portraits hang askew on a wallpaper-inspired ground of weathervanes, rocking horses, and teapots, evokes the early American home with a measure of nostalgia. Family Album was featured in in The New York Times on March 9, 1952, when Betty Pepis called the distinction between fine artists and designers “a twentieth century digression.” Pepis praised the collection as “not simply pictures reproduced on textiles or bowls or lamp bases, but designs specifically planned for the everyday medium they are to decorate.”
Allen, who became well known as an illustrator in the early 1950s, was among the most prolific of the Associated American Artists. She designed many textiles and ceramics through AAA and often appeared in the products’ advertising. (1) She went on to create 16 covers for The New Yorker in the 1960s through the 1980s, as well as to illustrate a number of children’s books. This is one of five of her textile designs being presented for consideration.
Multiple examples of Allen’s work, including garments fashioned from her Sunspots and Imperial Seal prints, are included in the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art’s traveling exhibition, “Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934-2000.”
(1) Gail Windisch, Sylvan Cole Jr., and Karen J. Herbaugh, Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934-2000 (Manhattan: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, Kansas State University, 2016): 208.

This object was donated by American Textile History Museum. It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection.

  • Spaces Necklace, 2015
  • H x W x D: 54 × 12.4 × 2.7 cm (21 1/4 × 4 7/8 × 1 1/16 in.).
  • Promised gift to the Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian....
  • 7067.138.2016

Its dimensions are

H x W: 104.1 × 118.7 cm (41 in. × 46 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Family Album; Designed by Laura Jean Allen (American, 1916 - 2003); cotton; H x W: 104.1 × 118.7 cm (41 in. × 46 3/4 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection; 2016-35-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-4.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711511/ |title=Textile, Family Album |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 October 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>