Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).


Copyright © 1998 by the author(s)


In response to a request from Kneeland [Ruzzie] Green, who was both Art Director of Stehli Silk Corporation and a close personal friend, Steichen contributed a group of modernist photographic designs to Stehli's Americana Prints collection, a series of artistdesigned textiles [1925-1927]. While several prominent graphic artists and national personalities contributed to this collection meant for use on silk dress fabric, the adaptations of Edward Steichen's silver gelatin prints received more attention from the Stehli company and from the contemporary press than any other single artist who designed Americana prints. These photographic images of weeds, carpet tacks, sugar cubes, thread and other ordinary objects appear, to date, to be the only textile designs by Steichen.

For Steichen, they represent his continuing interest in the use of light and of his increased use of studio-composed shots in his commercial artwork. As well, they continue his interest in aerial photography, a perspective of sharp and clear contrast developed in his work for the Navy during World War I. All designs are closely related to his continuing explorations of the effects of light and atmosphere.