Cora Ginsburg LLC

Modern Textiles

Woven cotton curtain
in the style of Maurice Verneuil
French, ca. 1925–30
104 x 49.5 in. (264.2 x 125.7 cm)
The dynamic interplay of geometric shapes and strong colors characteristic of the Art Deco idiom appears in full fashion on this woven furnishing fabric. In all areas of mid-1920s and 1930s art and design—from domestic and commercial interiors, to painting and sculpture, to typography— the fast pace of city life, with its constant advances, promoted a desire among early adopters for aspects of daily life to convey a sense of speed. Having witnessed the technological shifts of the 1920s, industrial designer Egmont Arens stated that the frenetic pace of modern life "rules out all that is too slow, or too cumbersome." The creator of this fabric appears to have also been influenced by the impact of early twentieth-century modernity on designs for living in that exciting time.

The design was probably inspired by the work of Maurice Verneuil in his publication Kal√©idoscope (1926). Born in France in 1888, Verneuil witnessed and participated in significant progressions of styles as the influences of modernity were experienced—from the late nineteenth century through World War I, to the culmination of Art Deco as it was presented at the 1925 >Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Kal√©idoscope, in which he entirely abandoned the botanical, zoological, and Japanese-inspired motifs of his previous work, is among his best-known design compendia for the bold, geometric rhythm and wild, chromatic juxtapositions of its patterns.

Produced in a heavyweight, double-faced cotton, the present curtain was likely woven at a skilled, though now unidentified, manufacturer replicating the work of contemporary luxe French firms in a mass-produced and more budget-friendly version that still maintained the very high standards of high-end French design. Bringing luxury design to the wider public was on the minds of many in France, as was the case with the popular decorating workshops attached to Paris's department stores: Pomone at Le Bon Marché, Primavera at Au Printemps, and La Maîtrise at the Galeries Lafayette. Woven fabrics like this one could be found decorating the walls or windows of apartments, boutiques, or the barrooms of trains.

For more information, see the 2019 Cora Ginsburg Modern catalogue.

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