Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s


Pattern and Flow

A Golden Age of American Decorated Papers, 1960s-2000s

"Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s" includes the work of over fifty artists who, working independently and together, revived the largely forgotten arts of marbled and paste paper design. This exhibition is a history of their imagination, innovation, and invention. The designs created by these pioneers and their followers are striking and take traditional art forms to new, expressive dimensions. The papers on view represent different techniquesincluding Western-style marbling, Japanese marbling (suminagashi), paste paper, stenciling, and fold-and-dye technique (orizome or itajime). The broad audience for decorated paper, especially from the late 1970s through the 1990s, included bookbinders, interior and graphic designers, and artists. They used the papers to make many things, including books, boxes, home furnishings, wallcovering, textile designs, and designs for everyday objects, such as the “Classic-Foil” marbled Kleenex box, with a marbled wave pattern which was originally commissioned from Faith Harrison in the late 1980s.

"Pattern and Flow" is the first Grolier Club exhibition to explore the art of decorated paper. The objects in the exhibition are from the Paper Legacy Collection, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Building on an in-depth international collection on the history of paper, the Paper Legacy Collection was initiated in 2017 by Mindell Dubansky, skilled book conservator and historian of the arts of the book, Watson’s Museum Librarian for Preservation, and Grolier Club member.

The Friends of Thomas J. Watson Library are the generous sponsors of the exhibition. Curated by Mindell Dubansky, Museum Librarian for Preservation, Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art.