Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas

GHELERTER, Donna (ed., 2017). Marguerita Mergentime: American Textiles, Modern Ideas, New York: West Madison Press. ISBN 978-0-692-76827-3, hardback, 144 pp, fully illustrated in b/w and colour. Price US$ 39.95 (exc. postage).

Marguerita Mergentime was a textile designer working in New York in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In particular she was known for designing a series of table linens (table cloths and serviettes), as well as kitchen items such as towels. She was described as the time as “producing a range of bright and gay designs which jolted the manufacturers out of their lethargy” (p. 11).

The book looks at the life of Marguerita Mergentime, as well as her development as a designer and the various styles of work she is known for, including Shapes & Colors (1934, 1935), Code Signals (1936) and Americana (1939). There are also chapters by Virginia Bayer, the granddaughter of Mergentime and guardian of the Mergentime archive, as well as textile historians Donna Ghelerter and Linda Florio.

Recommendation: This book will be of interest to anyone working within the field of American printed textiles, American graphic art and indeed graphic art in general. There is also the element of a woman working within a man’s world, producing designs that would appeal to both groups. Not always an easy task. This book should be in any library dealing with twentieth century design history and printed textiles in particular.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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