["Sugar Lumps" Pattern Design for Stehli Silks]

Edward J. Steichen American, born Luxembourg

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 852

For a project promoting not sugar but silk, Edward Steichen devised textile patterns from photographs of everyday objects. His arrangements of sugar cubes, matches, and mothballs were printed onto Stehli’s "Americana" line of dress fabrics. The success of these designs speaks to the proliferation and popularity of object photography—a genre so culturally ingrained that, by the late 1920s, it could become a fashion phenomenon. Steichen helped shape these conditions in his influential role as chief photographer for Condé Nast. The Stehli project reflected his populist vision for commercial photography, at least insofar as these chic silks ever reached the mainstream.

["Sugar Lumps" Pattern Design for Stehli Silks], Edward J. Steichen (American (born Luxembourg), Bivange 1879–1973 West Redding, Connecticut), Gelatin silver print

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