Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction

Lucienne Day. Causeway. 1967 490

Screen-printed cotton crepe, 117 3/4 × 48 1/4" (299.1 × 122.6 cm). Gift of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III

Juliet Kinchin: Lucienne Day was a household name, very much a style icon of the 1950s and '60s with her designer husband, Robin Day.

This design, called Causeway from 1967, reflects a trend for bigger and bolder patterns, which were ideally suited to the context of contemporary architecture. The fabric, which was produced by the company of Heal's, actually would have literally hung from floor to ceiling. So it has, with its strong verticals and horizontal lines, this very architectonic feel that complemented the interior modernist architecture. These abstract geometric designs, though, were also, as the name Causeway suggests, inspired by the modern urban environment.

Day, who trained at the Royal College of Art, was through and through a textile designer. That was her expressive medium. She participated in this explosion of interest in printed textiles following the war. Many of the restrictions on the scale of patterns and color palette were lifted. And Lucienne Day, a supreme colorist, injected into interiors these new colors and textures, not only making use of industrial screen printing but also the new synthetic fabrics, like rayon and crepe, which often took the colors in a very intense way.

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