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Object ID #18485909

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Donald Deskey and drafted by Donald Deskey and from the office of Donald Deskey and made for (as the client) Gilbert Seldes. It is dated ca. 1930 and we acquired it in 1975. Its medium is brush and gouache, brush and silver paint, graphite on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

American designer Donald Deskey studied painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Atelier Léger in Paris, France from 1921 before returning to the US in 1923. Many of his early works — perhaps best known are his interiors for Radio City Music Hall — reflect this training and recall the abbreviated angularity of French Art Deco and the Cubists. A 1935 drawing for the design of the three-panel Lysistrata Lacquer Screen, featuring a fragmented female figure, is graphically simplified and imbued with Cubism’s limited palette. (Over the course of his career, Deskey proved particularly adept, becoming one of the most prolific screen-makers of his time. ) Yet it signals the shifting sentiments towards design that began to take hold in America as the culture departed from its European counterparts. From a growing desire and necessity for the mass market came the emergence of a uniquely American expression in the applied arts. Designers, including Deskey, would come to embrace designing for mass production even as many continued to work with private wealthy clients, as Deskey did with this floor screen for author Gilbert Seldes.

This object was donated by Donald Deskey. It is credited Gift of Donald Deskey.

Our curators have highlighted 7 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Object ID #18705521
  • bent chromed metal, glass.
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.
  • 2006-4-1
  • Cameo
  • shell.
  • Gift of Mrs. John Innes Kane.
  • 1920-19-125

Its dimensions are

H x W: 41 × 29.3 cm (16 1/8 × 11 9/16 in.) H x W (Mat): 46.4 × 35.9 cm (18 1/4 × 14 1/8 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamp in red ink, lower right: DONALD DESKEY / 145 WEST 57TH STREET / NEW YORK CITY; mark on verso: AMCO/....TRATION BOARD/...AN ARTISTS SUPPLY CO., INC.,/..New York

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, lower left: LACQUER SCREEN FOR MR. G. SELDES // SIZE 7'-6 x 4

Cite this object as

Object ID #18485909; Designed by Donald Deskey (American, 1894–1989); USA; brush and gouache, brush and silver paint, graphite on illustration board; H x W: 41 × 29.3 cm (16 1/8 × 11 9/16 in.) H x W (Mat): 46.4 × 35.9 cm (18 1/4 × 14 1/8 in.); Gift of Donald Deskey; 1975-11-13

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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