Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Umbrella

Date:
1888
Culture:
American
Medium:
silk, wood, metal
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Seitz, 1951
Accession Number:
2009.300.3139
Not on view
Prior to the widespread mass-production of clothing in the 20th century, fashionable silhouettes changed more slowly, while small details and decorative elements were the focus of rapt attention and rapid change. In the umbrella and parasol industry, novelty was constantly required from the manufacturers themselves, as its product could not readily be created at home or by a skilled local craftsperson. The quest for invention is seen in this umbrella from the Brooklyn collection, where the fabric has a very interesting visual effect not unlike a tiger's eye stone, and the handle fascinates the viewer with its biomorphic quality. Umbrellas with various animal heads or other features worked into the handles were particularly favored in the 1880's and 1890s.
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