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Modern Textiles

Purist's Choice screen-printed sample in linen-cotton-rayon blend
Pipsan Saarinen Swanson for Goodall Fabrics
American, 1947
43 x 52 in. (109.2 x 132 cm)
In 1947, the Finnish-American Trading Corporation Ltd. opened Finland House, the short-lived though historically significant gallery-cum-restaurant located at 39 East 50th Street in New York City, which showcased and sold the finest in Finnish postwar design. Pipsan Saarinen Swanson's Purist's Choice outfitted the windows and walls of Finland House's dining room (see photo below).

Purist's Choice was among the seven textiles she designed in 1947 for Goodall Fabrics as part of the Saarinen-Swanson Group line, a collection of coordinated furnishings and housewares offering affordable, modern comforts for middle-class postwar living spearheaded by Saarinen Swanson and her husband, architect Robert F. Swanson, along with textile designer Marianne Strengell, sculptor Charles Dusenbury, ceramicist Lydia Winston, and architect Benjamin Baldwin.

In 1947, Saarinen Swanson won the American Institute of Decorators award for the textile collection, the first time it was given for textile design. Her textiles were subsequently exhibited in the Fourth Biennial Exhibition of Textiles and Ceramics at Cranbrook, the Women's City Club of Detroit, and at the Smithsonian Institution in 1953.

Dining room of Finland House, New York, ca. 1947-50

For more information, see the 2020 Cora Ginsburg Modern catalogue.

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