Press release

New Publication Chronicles American Decorated Paper Arts from the 1960s to Today

Book cover of maroon and black chevron pattern with the words "Pattern and Flow" written in gold script

Authored by Librarian for Preservation at The Met’s Thomas J. Watson Library, this stunning book features 280 color illustrations of innovative and groundbreaking decorated paper 

Publication date: January 17, 2023

Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s, published by the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, is the first expansive survey of American decorated paper arts beginning in the 1960s, a period when the field entered new heights of artistry and commercial success. Featuring spectacular use of color, this lavish and immersive publication includes 280 vivid illustrations of intricate patterns and designs. Its chronological narrative surveys the development of the field and introduces the artists working from the 1960s to the 2000s. Written by The Met’s longtime Museum Librarian for Preservation at the Thomas J. Watson Library, Mindell Dubansky, Pattern and Flow also features an introductory essay by Sidney E. Berger, scholar and director emeritus of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. 
The book will accompany the exhibition Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s at the Grolier Club in New York, curated by Ms. Dubansky and opening January 18, 2023 (it will remain on view through April 8, 2023). The exhibition will feature approximately 150 objects from The Met’s Thomas J. Watson Library collection, with decorated papers displayed in context with rare books, objects, color recipe books, correspondence, photographs, and hand tools used by the artists. 

As a grass‐roots art community developed around decorated paper arts in the 1960s, new styles of paper—such as marbled paper, paste paper, and fold-and-dye papers—became a phenomenon across the United States. Pattern and Flow includes a detailed illustrated reference section with essential biographical and professional information for each artist, providing an in-depth look at the knowledge and skills of these pioneering creatives. The book captures the passion that inspired the decorated paper movement through both the text, which explores the rise of the form and its enduring legacy today, and the hypnotizing and often iconic variety of designs illustrated in full color throughout the volume. 

Providing the first contextualization of the history of contemporary American decorated paper, Pattern and Flow is the culmination of several years of hands-on research conducted by Ms. Dubansky, including visiting the studios of working artists both locally and across the United States. The Watson Library has a growing collection about the history of paper, papermaking, and decoration, and the Library has recently acquired many publications that feature the work of the Paper Legacy Collection artists. The significant collection demonstrates the creativity and variety of decorated paper in the book arts of the past 50 years.

Additionally, the Watson Library has launched a research guide for the Paper Legacy Collection that includes information on how to access the collection in person and online. The research guide includes links to all Watsonline catalog records, images of papers, and artist-provided documentation from its Digital Collections database, a list of basic biographical information for artists, Ms. Dubansky’s presentation “Documenting a Generation: The Watson Library Paper Legacy Project,” and a full run (1987–93) of the journal Ink & Gall, which is dedicated to the history and technique of marbling. 

Publication Details

Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s is published by the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press. It includes a foreword by Kenneth Soehner, Arthur K. Watson Chief Librarian at the Thomas J. Watson Library; an introduction by Sidney E. Berger; and an overview of The Paper Legacy Collection and the golden age of American decorated paper by Ms. Dubansky. The 196-page book is available in hardcover from Yale University Press and The Met Store for $65.00. 

Mindell Dubansky is Museum Librarian for Preservation, Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation, Thomas J. Watson Library, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She is also the author of The Proper Decoration of Book Covers: The Life and Work of Alice C. Morse (2008) and Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren't (2016).

For inquiries about the book, contact Meryl Cates at The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

For inquiries about the exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York, contact Amanda Domizio:


December 7, 2022


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