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Roman Candles

A work made of linen, plain weave; screen printed.

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  • A work made of linen, plain weave; screen printed.


c. 1951


Designed by Joel Robinson (American, born 1923)
Produced by L. Anton Maix, Inc.

About this artwork

Festive orbs in yellow, red, and brown at the ends of thin angled lines suggest the sparking bursts of light that erupt when a roman candle combusts. Joel Robinson’s stylized interpretation of the popular firework conveys a celebratory sensibility, while also hinting at the precision associated with his architectural training. Roman Candles was used as upholstery fabric for a chair included in the 1951 Chicago Good Design show at the Merchandise Mart. Designed for the firm of L. Anton Maix, it was one of at least two patterns that Robinson designed that year. Also included in the 1951 collection was Ovals, which featured prominently in the Museum of Modern Art’s Good Design installation from that same year. The Good Design exhibitions, a partnership project between the Merchandise Mart and MoMA, sought to showcase the “best designed new products” defined as “Design intended for present-day life, in regard to usefulness, to production methods and materials and to the progressive taste of the day.” Although Robinson garners little mention today in art and design history books, during the 1950s, his modern fabric designs proved popular and were included in the 1951, 1952, and 1955 Good Design exhibitions.

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Joel Robinson (Designer) , L. Anton Maix Fabrics (Producer)


Roman Candles


New York (Object made in)


Made 1947-1955


Linen, plain weave; screen printed


Selvedge: 'Roman Candles' by Joel Robinson / Patt. Rep. 9"


182.9 × 128.3 cm (72 × 50 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. William W. McKittrick Endowment Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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