The High Style of Dorothy Draper

May 25 - August 6, 2006

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The life and career of New York's decorating maven.

Dorothy Draper was a pioneer in interior design, dominating the field, not only in New York but nationally, from 1925 to 1960 when she was named the most influential tastemaker in America. Extending her influence far beyond residential interiors, Draper made her mark on big-city hotels, resorts, offices, department stores, and apartment buildings—she even styled automobile and airplane interiors. And she was thoroughly modern in today’s terms in that she approached design as entertainment —a themed experience that ranged from a room's architecture to its furnishings, menus, and matchbooks. That she was a woman makes her achievements all the more remarkable, succeeding at a time when she had few counterparts in the business world.

The High Style of Dorothy Draper examines many aspects of this remarkable woman's life and career. Rarely seen drawings, sample books, vintage photographs, furnishings, and products will be displayed in galleries that evoke the "Draper touch." Her most important design commissions are featured, including The Carlyle Hotel and Hampshire House in New York City, The Camellia House restaurant at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and the Arrowhead Springs Resort & Spa in California. Draper’s national influence will be demonstrated with newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, and a rare video of her appearance on Edward R. Murrow’s television program in the 1950’s.


The High Style of Dorothy Draper is made possible by the generous support of The Patricia Miller Anton and William Conrad Anton Foundation, Benjamin Moore & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, Friederike K. Biggs, Owen Cheatham Foundation, Egan Family Foundation, The Greenbrier Resort and Spa, Merv Griffin, The J. M. Kaplan Fund, Thomas S. Kenan III, Kindel Furniture Company, Sheila Labrecque, The Nederlander Organization, New York Design Center, Susan and Robert P. Ross, Jr., Marlyne Sexton, Tupperware Brands Corporation, The Carleton Varney Design Group, Ficks Reed, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, Robb & Stucky Interiors, Helena Rubinstein Foundation, STUDIOS Architecture, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Brock, Laura Hunt, Susan Lloyd, Arthur L. Loeb, Zack McKown & Calvin Tsao, Agnes Montz, M.D., O'Sullivan Antiques, Robert A. M. Stern, Helen S. Tucker, and Roger Tuckerman.

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