AMERICAN INNOVATION: Candace Wheeler, a textile and interior designer and one of the first women to work in the male-dominated design world of the 19th century, is the focus of an exhibition currently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art until Jan. 6, 2002. Titled “Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875-1900,” the exhibit features 105 works including textiles, wallpapers, drawings, paintings, photographs of interiors and furniture. Among the highlights are 50 textiles in a variety of fibers such as silk, cotton, linen and metallic blends, many donated to the museum by Wheeler’s sister in 1928. The pieces range from appliqued and embroidered hangings to yardage of warp-printed silk, all created by Wheeler and the members of her textile and interior design firm, Associated Artists.
Amelia Peck, associate curator in the museum’s department of American Decorative Arts, said the three years she spent putting the exhibit together were especially important because: “We were resurrecting an American woman pioneer, not only in the designs that she created, but in the social issues she raised, specifically with regards to training women in the arts.”