The intersection of graphic, interior, industrial and textile design is at the heart of 20th-century modernism. And at the core of that heart is Marguerita Mergentime (1894–1941), a name that may be unknown to many of us, including me. She made her mark in the 1930s with table linens in bold colors and innovative patterns.




A new monograph, Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas (West Madison Press, New York), is the first devoted to this 1930s-era designer, whose work is at MoMA and included in a Cooper Hewitt exhibition.

Perhaps most interesting are her typographic table linens that were used at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Among her most visible works were textiles for Radio City Music Hall. She worked with such luminaries as Donald Deskey, Russel Wright and Norman Bel Geddes, and entered the American home through fabric designs that defined the modern spirit.

The book, edited by Donna Ghelerter with Virginia Bayer and Linda Florio, and beautifully designed by Florio, is a treat for what it brings to light of the pre-war modern home-style sensibility that blends modernist abstraction with representational floral motifs—and an unusual typographic sensibility. You may still find it hard to remember the name but the work is unforgettable.


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The 2017 PRINT RDA: Extended Deadline. Enter Now!

Enter the most respected competition in graphic design—now open to both pros and students—for a chance to have your work published, win a pass to HOW Design Live, and more. 2017 Judges: Aaron Draplin / Jessica Hische / Pum Lefebure / Ellen LuptonEddie OparaPaula Scher. Student work judges: PRINT editorial & creative director Debbie Millman and PRINT editor-in-chief Zachary Petit.

Draplin image: Leah Nash. Hische: Helena Price. Lupton: Michelle Qureshi. Scher: Ian Roberts.

One thought on “Textiled

  1. julietkinchin

    If you hurry you can see Mergentime’s political ‘Food For Thought’ tablecloth on view at MoMA in ‘How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior’ until April 23rd. It’s a beautiful typographic composition of slogans designed to encourage civilized discussion around the dinner table. Also on view a partial reconstruction of her NY apartment designed by Kiesler – a fellow member of AUDAC