Marguerita Mergentime, 1930s

Marguerita Mergentime, 1930s

Marguerita Mergentime (1894–1941), an American textile designer best known for printed fabrics, made her mark in the 1930s with table linens in bold colors and patterns created to enliven American households. In New York City in the 1930s, Mergentime worked with some of the best-known designers of the day, including Donald Deskey, Russel Wright, and Frederick Kiesler. Her work was featured in The New Yorker, House & Garden, House Beautiful, and Vogue, as well as newspapers across America.

Mergentime was a member of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen (AUDAC), which included numerous influential designers whose works define twentieth-century modernism in America. In 1932, Mergentime was commissioned by Donald Deskey to create designs for Radio City Music Hall. She produced her Lilies in the Air fabric that covers the walls in the Ladies’ Lounge and a carpet, both on the Grand Lounge level.

Beginning in 1934, Mergentime focused her talent on producing table linens sold at Macy’s and Lord & Taylor in New York, as well as department stores throughout the country. Mergentime’s innovative table linens brought asymmetry, politics, folk art, typography, and quizzes to casual dining. In 1939 Mergentime designed a souvenir tablecloth for the New York World’s Fair, and a hanging titled Americana for the Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, that lists 360 words, phrases, and names taken from both historical references and the vernacular speech and popular culture of the day.

Marguerita Mergentime’s work resides in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art; the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum at FIT; and the Allentown Art Museum.