On view now at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York
October 5, 2018–April 14, 2019
Tablescapes: Designs for Dining featuring many of Marguerita Mergentime’s vibrant 1930s table linens and Americana—the hanging Marguerita designed for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition full of 1930s slang and American sayings—can be seen once again at the museum.
During New York Textile Month in September, 2018, Virginia Bayer, Marguerita’s granddaughter, gave a talk, “The Power of Cloth: Marguerita Mergentime,” as part of the day-long Iconic Textiles program. Bayer spoke on Marguerita’s career and her 1930s table linens that were revolutionary in their bold colors and unusual subject matter.
From the Wall Street Journal, November 15:
What to Give: Books on Design
The best books to give the design lover in your life.
"Some 30 years after May Moriss's success, as “Marguerita Mergentime” (West Madison Press, 144 pages, $39.95) makes clear, another designer on the other side of the Atlantic helped foment a revolution in everyday textiles. “She made a name for herself at a time when it was particularly rare for designers of table linens and kitchenwares to obtain consumer recognition,” comments Mergentime’s granddaughter Virginia Bayer. Readers of a certain age may remember Mergentime’s linens based on American folk-art motifs, but the real revelations here are stunning tablecloths and napkins from the 1930s that seem to anticipate hard-edge and Minimalist art decades later."
Israel Museum, Design Matters. A day bed from Mergentime’s apartment is on display. June 3, 2017–February 17, 2018
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts, Utica, NY, Roaring into the Future: New York 1925–1935. A selection of Mergentime’s textiles was featured. June 17– October 9, 2017
Museum of Modern Art, How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior. Featured Mergentime’s work and the forward-thinking furnishings for her New York apartment, designed by her colleague Frederick Kiesler.
October 1– April 23, 2017
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Friedrich Kiesler: Architekt, Kunstler, Visionär. One room was dedicated to Kiesler’s furniture including works from the Mergentime apartment as one of his most prominent projects. March 11–June 11, 2017
Cooper Hewitt, The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s. Included a daybed from Mergentime’s apartment. April 7– August 20, 2017
“A Modern Image,” Metropolis, September 2017, http://www.metropolismag.com/design/marguerita-mergentime-book/
“Marguerita Mergentime,” Cover, Autumn 2017
“Read” column, Selvedge, September/October 2017
“The Whimsical Designs of a Forgotten American Icon,” Food52, August 3, 2017, https://food52.com/blog/20202-marguerita-mergentime-new-book
“Indelible Inks,” Elle Decor, July/August 2017
“Finding Marguerita,” Linda Florio, Design Observer, June 21, 2017,
“Marguerita Mergentime: Inventing Tablecloths,” Virginia Bayer, Modern Magazine, Summer 2017, http://modernmag.com/marguerita-mergentime-inventing-tablecloths/
“Textiled,” Steven Heller, Print Magazine, April 18, 2017,
Marguerita Mergentime sparks interest
Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas is a welcome addition to the literature on American textiles of the interwar period. Although her career was relatively brief, spanning the 1930s, Mergentime’s designs were widely known, highly sought after, and sold at leading department stores across the United States. The essays situate Mergentime’s work within the context of American design in the early twentieth century and highlight her own special contribution. Elegantly designed and illustrated in full color, Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas is a testament to the imaginative, individual style of this accomplished designer.
—Titi Halle, owner, and Michele Majer, research associate, Cora Ginsburg LLC
I have developed a deep affinity for textiles over my 45 years as a curator at the Cooper-Hewitt, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and most recently the Museum of Arts and Design. Thus it was thrilling to discover this beautiful book on the lively, whimsical, and most thoughtful designs for table linens and other textiles by Marguerita Mergentime. Like so many of the designers of mid-twentieth-century furnishing fabrics, she has long been forgotten and overlooked. Her imaginative use of typography and imagery to provoke conversations among those dining on her table linens is especially delightful.
—Dorothy Globus, former Curator of Exhibitions, Museum of Arts and Design
Although her name may not be as familiar today as some of her design contemporaries, Marguerita Mergentime (1894–1941) played a significant role in fostering changes in American taste in the 1930s. The book paints a vivid picture of the designer and her work, as well as the cultural forces and artistic milieu that surrounded her. Mergentime revitalized traditional sources but also found inspiration in unexpected places, from folk art to politics, copperplate script to expressive fonts. The better part of a century after they were produced, many of Mergentime’s designs still appear fresh and lively. Mergentime experimented with giving everyday necessities a distinctive stylistic twist: her designs emanate spirit, energy, and joy. Richly illustrated, Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas illuminates the thematic range of this imaginative designer, while original advertisements and contemporary quotes capture the spirit of the times in which they were created.
—Dr. Alice M. Zrebiec, former Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art,
Denver Art Museum