Launch Slideshow

California's Designing Women

California's Designing Women

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    Marilyn Kay Austin, earthenware floor vase, Architectural Pottery, circa 1962. Private collection. Photograph: Susan Einstein.

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    Greta Magnusson Grossman, wood, Glenn of California (Arcadia, California), 1952, Collection of Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman, R 20th Century, New York.

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    Muriel Coleman, iron, California Contemporary Inc., circa 1952. The Jaffe Family Collection.

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    Jane Bennison, earthenware, Vernon Kilns, circa 1936, Private Collection.

Forty-six women designers are responsible for more than 200 functional art objects created during a span of 90 years all from one state. The Autry, an intercultural history center in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, commissioned California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986, which will run from Aug. 10 to Jan. 6. The exhibition spotlights women who created museum-worthy yet utilitarian housewares, furniture, textiles, jewelry, lighting, and graphic designs often from materials cast off from local industries. Leftover airplane windshields became architectural jewelry pieces and steel rebar scraps from skyscraper construction are now fine examples of mid-century modern furniture.

Featured designers include architect Ray Eames, furniture designer Greta Magnusson Grossman, copper workers Elizabeth Eaton Burton and Lillian Palmer, glass designer Dorothy Thorpe, potters Gertrud Natzler and Beatrice Wood, and textile and housewares designer Gere Kavanaugh. “It is truly remarkable to see the vast amount of influence California women designers had on the look of everyday life,” Autry president and CEO Daniel Finley stated in the press release, “as they brought their ideas, ingenuity, and bold concepts into the American home.”

If you’re looking for more on celebrated female designers, stop by the A+D Museum and visit Come In! Le Femmes.