Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

"20th Century Limited"

Designer:
Henry Dreyfuss (American, New York 1904–1972 South Pasedena, California)
Manufacturer:
Buffalo China (Buffalo, New York) (American)
Date:
1938
Medium:
Earthenware
Dimensions:
1 1/8 x Diam. 10 5/8 in. (2.9 x 27 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Pottery
Credit Line:
John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.585.2
Not on view
As a pioneering industrial designer in America, Henry Dreyfuss created a number of consumer products that were nearly ubiquitous in American homes: telephones, vacuum cleaners, and cameras were among his most successful designs. In the 1930s, railroad companies competed for passengers by upgrading their services. Dreyfuss designed every aspect of New York Central's luxury long-distance train, the 20th Century Limited, the name embodying its advanced technology and modernity. In addition to redesigning aspects of the train's exterior to give it a sleeker, more streamlined appearance, Dreyfuss attended to every detail of the interior, making it more efficient and comfortable. The result was a complete corporate branding, as well as a much improved train design. These dinner plates and letterhead, in coordinated shades of buff and taupe, project a unified vision of simple, elegant modernity, appropriate to a luxury train like the 20th Century Limited.
Marking: (Bottom): BUFFALO/ CHINA/ DESIGN COPYRIGHTED/ MADE ESPECIALLY FOR/ NEW YORK CENTRAL/ D-9
John C. Waddell, New York (until 2002; 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. 128).

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.

J. Stewart Johnson. American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2000, p. 169, ill. p. 128 (color).



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