Date:June 2023
Editor:Alexa Griffith Winton, Susan Brown
Contributions:Leigh Wishner, Erica Warren, John Stuart Gordon, Monica Penick, Emily M Orr
Publisher:Cooper Hewitt, Yale University Press
Dimensions:8 x 10.2 in.
Format:Hardcover, interior exposed spine
Pages:256 (175 color + 50 b&w illus.)

A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes

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Published to accompany the exhibition A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, on view at Cooper Hewitt from July 7, 2023 to February 4, 2024. 

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The first major publication devoted to weaver and designer Dorothy Liebes, reinstating her as one of the most influential American designers of the twentieth century.

Dorothy Liebes (1897–1972) was called “the greatest modern weaver and the mother of the twentieth-century palette.” As a weaver, she developed a distinctive combination of unusual materials, lavish textures, and brilliant colors that came to be known as the “Liebes Look.” Yet despite her prolific career and recognition during her lifetime, Liebes is today considerably less well known than the men with whom she often collaborated, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Dreyfuss, and Edward Durrell Stone. Her legacy also suffered due to the inability of the black-and-white photography of the period to represent her richly colored and textured works.

Extensively researched and illustrated with full-color, accurate reproductions, this important publication examines Liebes’s widespread impact on twentieth-century design. Essays explore milestones of her career, including her close collaborations with major interior designers and architects to create custom textiles, the innovative and experimental design studio where she explored new and unusual materials, her use of fabrics to enhance interior lighting, and her collaborations with fashion designers, including Clare Potter and Bonnie Cashin. Ultimately, this book reinstates Liebes at the pinnacle of modern textile design alongside such recognized figures as Anni Albers and Florence Knoll.


Beautifully designed by Estudio Herrera, the book offers the reader a tactile experience. The real cloth cover with silkscreened typography and inset photograph opens to reveal an exposed spine and colored threads that tie together the page signatures and echo Liebes’s own craft.


Susan Brown is associate curator and acting head of textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian American Design Museum.

Alexa Griffith Winton, manager of content and curriculum at Cooper Hewitt, is a design historian and leading Liebes scholar.

is in Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection.


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