Vera-A Design Icon

Blog Post #6

By Angela at Mid Mod Flair

Hi everyone, today I am writing about an icon, and someone who has been a true inspiration to me!

Vera Neumann-designer icon

Just the other day I posted, on Instagram, a photo collage of bits of wallpaper I found behind my sink in the laundry room of my house. I was very sure it was Vera wallpaper judging from the design and so I HAD to take photos of it! My house was built in 1972 and the presence of yellow flowered wallpaper and it possibly being a Vera design, I feel, is an appropriate assumption, as her designs were wildly popular in the 1970s.

Here are the bits of wallpaper I discovered!

Vera Neumann is the designer of which I am referring. And if you were a child in the 70 and 80s you too might know her designs well. From the aforementioned wallpaper, to bedding and tablecloths to dresses and blouses and signature scarves, the Vera name was everywhere and became synonymous with everyday, affordable style. The dining room table set by your mother was undoubtedly adorned with Vera tablecloths or placemats.

These could have been your placemats. Look at those colors!

Vera Neumann painted everything from floral prints to abstracts, and often times her designs reflected her traveling adventures as well. She produced a wide range of work, which enabled her popularity to grow and enable the “Vera” name to remain in many households for many years. With her designs set in a variety, colors, motifs and patterns you never knew what new designs would transpire and excite consumers.

Vera’s scarves had become so coveted and collectable that oftentimes people framed them. They were and still are true works of art!

Vera was not only well-known for her floral prints but abstracts as well.

Some of Vera’s beautiful floral designs.

Vera’s education began in New York City in the late 1920s. It was at the Taphagen school of Design that Vera was given the practical knowledge of how she could use her talents for commercial use and bring beautiful designs to the masses.

One of her first jobs was designing textiles, commercially it was satisfying but artistically Vera did not find that the job best suited her. Later she found more enjoyment and could remain true to herself by becoming a freelance artist designing fabrics and painting children’s murals.

Once she met and married her husband George Neumann, who had also a great knowledge of textiles, as well as a keen sense for marketing, they created a business partnership. Their company was called Printex and the first textiles produced were printed by Vera and George on a handmade screen printer in their home.

Vera’s popular fern design…my family had these napkins in our home!

Around the year 1945 word began to spread about the designs this new company Printex was producing and soon orders started coming in; so many so that it became difficult to fill all of the orders placed. Vera and her husband George hired on new people to help with the delivering of the products. The first of their popular products were placemats and wallpaper.

The Schumacher Company was the first to sell Vera’s wallpaper designs.

Due to the fact that the designs used in Printex’s manufacturing were taken straight from Vera’s painted canvases, her signature mistakenly got printed on one of the textile works and this was the beginning of the famous “Vera” signature being present on all of Vera’s beautiful designswork; in fact, Vera was the fist woman designer to have her own signature on all of her products. Later, in 1959 a tiny ladybug joined her signature as her trademark.

Vera’s notion of how fine art should not just be something on a canvas or found only on the wealthy or in homes of the upper class, she wanted to make fine art accessible to everyone. Her designs were printed on everyday items such as aprons, toaster covers, potholders towels and sheets. Her signature scarves, which became one of her most popular items, were sold at a fraction of the price as compared to the cost of other designer scarves. Vera set her sights on all women in all walks of life and young professionals. The affordability of her products and fashion set Vera apart from other designers.

A Vera print blouse and beautiful 70s apron design!

I am inspired and greatly influenced by Vera. Not only do her designs delight me, but her philosophy of creating for a wide range of people aligns with what I also believe. Art is for everyone! Vera’s variation in ideas and in her art instilled in me the notion that art and inspiration can be ever changing and always stimulating. Vera never just painted one design or in just one style; she was once quoted as saying that she did not want to repeat her work, thus she showered us with many designs and patterns.

I too adhere to the same philosophy and I tend to paint a variable of designs and I am always inspired and excited about new design work everyday. I hope too to be always growing and changing and developing new work and to be an inspiration to others in the future.

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