Candace Wheeler (American, 18271923), for Associated Artists (New York City, 18831907); ground fabric by Cheney Brothers (South Manchester, Connecticut, 18381955)
Silk and metallic cloth appliquéd with silk velvet and embroidered with silk and metallic–wrapped cotton threads; 74 x 50 1/2 in. (188 x 128.3 cm)
Gift of the family of Mrs. Candace Wheeler, 1928 (28.34.2)
One of the most luxurious of Wheeler's textiles, this unfinished panel was undoubtedly meant to be the central section of a larger portiere or curtain. The full-blown pink silk velvet tulips that form the swirling pattern have all been applied to the cloth-of-gold ground, but the detailed embroidery within many of the flowers and the couching stitch edging on the leaves has not been completed. The panel is one of the few remaining examples of Wheeler's work in the appliqué technique, although she used the method for many of her large-scale projects, such as the Madison Square Theatre stage curtains. Appliqué work could be completed relatively quickly and at a substantially lower cost than labor-intensive hand embroidery, and Wheeler prized its ability to create a strong visual impact when she was designing for large spaces.