About the Collection

In 1980, when Liliane Stewart and her husband, David M. Stewart, began to collect mid-century international design it was a new frontier relatively unexplored by museums. Organizing exhibitions and publications helped to shape the Stewart Collection’s acquisition program, which included all the design media -from furniture, ceramics, and metalwork to textiles, graphic design and jewelry. Initially, the focus was on Italy, the Scandinavian countries and the United States, where design flourished immediately following World War II. When Liliane Stewart later became intrigued with contemporary design the range of the collection expanded to include Post Modernism of the 1980s, with the work of the Italian collaborative Memphis as a key area of interest. Contemporary design then became an ongoing collecting focus that continues to the present day, and new objects are regularly acquired by gift or purchase.

 

Posters designed by Paula Scher

Paula Scher, considered one of North America’s most important graphic designers, recently donated twenty-two of her iconic poster designs to the Stewart Collection. A partner in the New York office of Pentagram since 1991, Scher has developed graphic identities for many major corporations and has won numerous awards for her work. The posters in this generous gift express her unique style, uniting pop culture and fine art. Included are examples of her award-winning 1990s graphic identity for New York’s Public Theater in which her creative use of typography and images conveys the energy of the performance.

Gift from George R. Kravis II Collection of Industrial Design

The Stewart Program received a generous gift of eighty-five designs from the estate of Tulsa collector George R. Kravis II. The gift from the Kravis collection, which focused on international industrial design from 1900 to the present, complements the Stewart Collection with additions of important designs. The collecting initiative of George Kravis paralleled that of Liliane Stewart; both collectors were devoted to sharing their passion for design with others through an ambitious program of exhibitions and publications. This gift was made possible by the Council for Canadian American Relations.

 

The Stewart Program Study Storage

The Council for Canadian American Relations

Many of the donations of decorative arts and designs in the Stewart Collection have been made possible by the Council for Canadian American Relations. The Council advances the appreciation of the arts in both Canada and the United States, and promotes artistic excellence by supporting cultural institutions in both countries.