Magnum (Upholstery and Wallcovering Fabric), designed 1970
Manufacturer: Jack Lenor Larsen, New York, New York
Fabricator: Artistocrat Embroidery, Guttenberg, New Jersey
Layered mylar, cotton flannel, sheer polyester, organza and wool, cotton and synthetic threads; machine embroidered
Hemmed: 144 ¼ x 49 inches
Museum Purchase with funds from the Wetsman Foundation
Distinguished textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen designed Magnum to serve as curtain fabric for the Phoenix Opera House before it was released to the public as upholstery and wallcovering fabric. Characteristic of his work, this luxurious, futuristic textile is composed of vibrant colors, rich textures and innovative materials such as mirrored Mylar polyester film. Unlike most textiles designed for production, however, this piece requires such highly specialized and slow methods of manufacture that it is almost as time-consuming and costly to produce as it would be if handmade.
Through teaching, organizing exhibitions and writing, Larsen helped challenge other fabric designers to find new materials and production techniques while being true to the medium’s history. Among other accomplishments, Larsen created the first printed velvet upholstery fabrics, designed draperies for New York’s landmark Lever House as well as Pan Am and Braniff airlines, and received the 1964 Milan Triennale gold medal.
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