Design: Reflections on the Wright Look

American Modern: aesthetics at the dinner table

Young marrieds of the 1940s could not go wrong with Russel Wright, then easily the country's best-known designer. His furniture and tableware were smart, modern, practical and informal. Best of all, they were cheap. In 1940, a 20-piece "starter set" of Wright's American Modern pottery dinner dishes cost about $6. The announcement that year of a new shipment at Gimbels' New York store caused block-long lines and a near riot. The design had never been as popular in America.

Wright's designs went out of fashion long before he...

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