Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

"Bluebird" Radio

Designer:
Walter Dorwin Teague (American, Decatur, Indiana 1883–1960 Flemington, New Jersey)
Manufacturer:
Sparton Corporation (Jackson, Michigan)
Date:
1934
Medium:
Glass, chrome-plated metal, fabric, painted wood
Dimensions:
H. 14-1/4, W. 14-1/2, D. 7 inches (36.2 x 36.8 x 17.8 cm)
Classification:
Machines & Appliances
Credit Line:
John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 1998
Accession Number:
1998.537.31
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 912
The sleek design of this radio embodies the luxurious, carefree lifestyle espoused by Hollywood movies and popular music of the 1930s, which portrayed skyscraper living as the height of sophistication. Following a tantalizing advertising campaign, the Sparton Corporation unveiled four radio models—including the Bluebird—at the 1935 National Electrical and Radio Exposition in New York. With its dramatic chrome accents and bold blue glass body balanced on glossy black round feet, the Bluebird quickly became known as a masterpiece of Art Deco design.
Marking: (printed on face of dial): Sparton / [two globes] / JACKSON, MICHIGAN / MADE IN / U.S.A.
John C. Waddell, New York (until 1998; his gift to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 16, 2000–January 7, extended to February 4, 2001, unnumbered cat, (p. 95).

Newport Beach, Calif. Orange County Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 25–August 19, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Flint, Mich. Flint Institute of Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," September 14–December 16, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," January 11–April 7, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Charlotte, N. C. Mint Museum of Craft and Design. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 3–July 28, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Tulsa, Okla. Philbrook Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," August 23–November 17, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Reyer Kras. "Sparton Blue Moon Radio: Walter Dorwin Teague." Icons of Design! The Twentieth Century. Ed. Volker Albus, Reyer Kras, and Jonathan M. Woodham. Munich, 2000, p. 57, ill. (color; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam collection), dates it 1935.



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