May 20, 1931: Announcement was made yesterday of prizes won in a Persian design competition based on the Persian Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, this competition having been open to students in public schools as well as to those in private schools of applied art. The prizes were offered by Mr. Albert Blum of the United Piece Dye Works and Mr. E. W. Fairchild of the Fairchild Publications. The competition was arranged by the Department of Education of the Brooklyn Museum as a demonstration in the practical teaching of art for the American Federation of Arts which to-day closed its 22nd annual convention.
The record shows that the Museum granted 961 permits to classes and individuals to make sketches in the Persian Exhibit which opened on March 17th and which will close this coming Sunday, May 24th. It is estimated between 8000 and 10,000 students availed themselves of the opportunity to study the superb examples of Persian craftsmanship. Nearly 500 designs were submitted to the judges at the Museum, in many cases there having been a preliminary selection by the teachers.
So much interest was excited among the visiting artists and teachers of art by this competition that Mr. Erwin P. Christensen, Director of Education of the American Federation of Arts, is planning to form a travelling exhibit of the designs, in combination with photographs of specimens used as sources of inspiration. It is proposed to send this exhibition to the principal cities in the United States.
First prize of $100. went to Dorothy Schill of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women for a Persian Garden design for chintz based upon miniature paintings and distinguished by fine technical skill in drafting and by romantic subject matter.
The second prize of $50. was awarded to Evelyn Van Horn of the Traphagen School of Fashion, New York, for two costumes inspired by the design lay-out of a Persian plate.
Two third prizes of $25. each were won by a textile design of gold on blue by Cecilia Fruchter of the Abraham Lincoln High School and by E. Blumenthal of the Girls Commercial High School, Brooklyn for a design painted on cotton.
The general quality of the studies submitted was high and the uses of Persian inspiration often subtle and finely adjusted to modern purposes. It is also apparent that the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and developed a fine spirit of emulation in several schools such as the Pratt Institute, the Traphagen School of Fashion and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. In the public schools the conditions of teaching call for few hours in art instruction. Very fine displays were sent in by the Girls Commercial High School and the Bay Ridge High School of Brooklyn, and the Washington Irving High School of New York where there are special classes in design while the work of other schools generally represent instruction of fewer hours per week and must therefore be judged by another standard. In this field the Thomas Jefferson High School of Brooklyn made an interesting showing.
Honorable mention was voted to C. Whitman Boynton of the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, for a study in the batik method and to an unidentified student of the same school for a poster design announcing the Persian Exhibit of the Brooklyn Museum.
Honorable Mention was also voted to Marie Wiley, New York School of Applied Design for Women for a carpet pattern of the Ispahan type and for a Persian panel in bright colors following the style of the miniature paintings; to Minnie Brodsky of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women for a silk print pattern of trees and flowers; to Helen Conner, also of this school, for a painted mannikin and a costume sketch following it; to Annette Holland of the Washington Irving High School, New York, for a silk design. Mindella Schechter of the Bay Ridge High School received honorable mention for fine color effects in two studies.
An interesting design by a young pupil which called for honorable mention on account of originality was a sketch by Isabelle Brown, aged 10 years, of the Saturday Morning Class of the Traphagen School of Fashion, New York, picturing a brother and sister romper suit covered with rabbits from Persian miniatures; in one case the bunnies are white on red and in the other case red on white. Ruth Schulman, also of this class but more advanced age, was given honorable Mention for a costume with decorative elements taken from a war helmet.
These school designs will remain on view at the Museum until Monday, May 25th.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 04-06_1931, 101-3.