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An American Style: Global Sources for New York Textile and Fashion Design, 1915–1928, by Ann Marguerite Tartsinis


A BGC Focus Gallery Publication

Ann Marguerite Tartsinis

In 1915 the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) embarked upon a mission to energize the American textile industry.  Curators sought to innovate a distinctly “American” design idiom drawing on a more universal “primitive” language. Ethnographic objects were included in study rooms; designers gained access to storage rooms; and museum artifacts were loaned to design houses and department stores. In order to attract designers and reluctant manufacturers, who quickly responded, collections were supplemented with specimens including fur garments from Siberia, Persian costumes, and Javanese textiles. This book positions the project at the AMNH in the broader narrative of early 20th-century design education in New York, which includes the roles of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Newark Museum.

Ann Marguerite Tartsinis is associate curator at the Bard Graduate Center.

Table of Contents

Director's Foreword


Author's Acknowledgments

Introduction: "A New American Decorative Art": The American Museum of Natural History and the Pursuit of a National Design Identity, 1915-1928

Part I

World War I, Design Education, and the Museum

Models in the Study Room -1916

Part II

Fashion Designers and Global Artifacts

Garments from the Exhibition of Industrial Art-1919

Part III

The Exhibition of Industrial Art in Textiles and Costumes, 1919

Part IV

Abandoned Plans and Shifting Priorities

Selected Biographies
Checklist of the Exhibition
Exhibitors at the Exhibition of Industrial ArtBibliography

1.00 LBS

Other Details


8.8 x 7 x 0.5 in.

Page count
144 pages, 30 color + 70 b/w illus.

Publication date
September 26, 2013

Paperback cover with flaps