Monday, September 23, 2013

New Exhibit: "The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank"

Is there a better way to start a week than with classic, colorful Swedish design? Definitely not.

As I wrote about Friday, the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia opened its new exhibition "The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank" last night. The museum kindly invited me to experience the Frank retrospective and I knew I had to share the details with you all.

Just over a year ago my husband and I returned from a two week trip to Scandinavia. Throughout our time there we discussed the undeniable design talent that originated from that area of the world. And when I insisted that we visit the famous design firm Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm, Adam obliged and--dare I say it--even enjoyed himself. 

Svenskt Tenn was on my must-see list in Stockholm because of the timeless designs of one of its principal designers, Josef Frank. Frank's work hardly seems shows its age, especially when you realize that the bulk of it was produced between the 1940's and '50s. It looks completely modern in 2013!

That's why the name of new Frank exhibit at the American Swedish Historical Museum makes perfect sense: his designs have maintained popularity and freshness across many decades. Take a look at portions of the exhibit and tell me if you agree:
Meet Me in Philadelphia
Meet Me in Philadelphia
The exhibit and the gallery talk at yesterday's opening were quite informative. I learned several new things about Frank, including that:
  • Frank was born in Austria but emigrated to Sweden, the country he's most prominently associated with, to marry his Swedish wife.
  • Frank and his wife decamped to New York during the war and this is when he developed many of his most famous textile designs, including "Manhattan".
  • He was an architect by trade but was drawn to interior design in the aftermath of WWII.
Meet Me in Philadelphia
Meet Me in Philadelphia
And one final note on the legacy of Josef Frank--the designer emphasized experimentation, color play, pattern mixing and enjoyment in his designs. Perhaps it's for this reason that we are still talking about him today.
(all via Meet Me in Philadelphia)

I encourage all fans of Josef Frank's brand of Swedish modernism to find a time to visit this exhibit, which is running through Spring 2014. Inject any grey day with a rainbow of colorful Frank textiles on display at the museum.

September 22, 2013 - Spring 2014
1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145

I want to thank the American Swedish Historical Museum for inviting me to last night's event!


  1. So much ewwing and ahhhing. Thanks for sharing, what a great exhibit!

  2. Love it all. I feel like I get lost in a Josef Frank print, in all the best of ways.


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