ABOUT THIS SITE
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, my grandmother wore Vera Neumann-designed clothing. I had never seen anything like it. The colors were vibrant and eye catching. I remember her wearing striking blouses with flowers. In my memory, they were of the yellow and pink hues perhaps tulips. As a child, I had never seen anyone dress like that and thought it was the height of chic. (Interestingly, she also had the iconic towels of the Tammis Keefe cats which I only figured out much later).
When I got my first job, in the mid 1970’s I used a good portion of my first paycheck to buy the set of the bath towels shown in the first two photos of the Fun Stuff gallery. The number I can remember from that time was $16.78; but whether it was my full paycheck or the cost of the towels I cannot remember. I actually used (yes, really!) them at least 20 years and they have since been retired honorably. Their only current job is to make me smile and remember that time of life. The ones on this site are newer versions of that set.
Then I got busy with life for the rest of the century. In 2000, I went online looking for Vera items on a whim. There was so much to see and I was dazzled. I am grateful that I ended up collecting the vintage linen tea towels rather than the even more prolific scarf designs or many, many more of her tempting other treasures.
My name is Merle. The site is for your enjoyment and the towels are not for sale nor will I provide estimate pricing. Just please enjoy.
This site was designed and created by my talented husband, Scott Brown. He has successfully worked in Silicon Valley for most of his career managing far, far larger and more diverse groups than me. His continuing patience to produce a site with my numerous obscure and eclectic changes is a labor of love.
Vera Neumann has been written about extensively, however, I always find something new. I would highly recommend that you read up on her amazing life. There were many other women that began to create art in the 1940’s to 1960’s. This was quite unique for the time and they lovingly endure through their work. They came from different educations, countries and careers including (surprisingly to me but upon reflection makes perfect sense) Disney animator artists.
There is extensive information online and I also found two very interesting books to read. Susan Seid wrote “Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon”. Also, Jeannette Michalets and Katherine Michalets wrote “Vera Textiles”. They provide a history of her very interesting life and are also very beautiful.
Vera was an amazing woman on so many levels. She was an artist to the likes of Marilyn Monroe and my Grandmother. She provided access to her art to all through linens, scarves, clothing, dinnerware, bathroom and kitchen items. She also was a role model and business person. Early on she formed partnerships, cross-licensed, copyrighted, traveled and had business alliances globally.
Over 8,000 of her designs are copyrighted in the Library of Congress. And she was friends with Alexander Calder, the innovative abstract sculptor and creator of mobiles (I just had to add that; it is so wonderful).
About the Towels and Photography
Organizing the Collection: There are currently over 1,200 different towels on this site. The towels have been organized in three galleries. Since there are over 250 Flower towels, they have been further grouped. This is also the case for the Calendar towels which run from 1960 through 1979 and then a small batch in 1982. And there is also a third Medley collection which includes more types of grouped towels and a category for Fun Stuff (the Fun Stuff gallery is not included in the 1,200-towel count, just for clarity).
In some cases, there is only one unique towel (that I have found) in a particular design however Vera made extensive use of colourways (defined as any of a range of combinations of colors in which a style or design is available, so says the Oxford Dictionary). In general, I have found there often are two to three towels of the same design in different colors and there are a couple examples of over five colourways of the same towel.
I don’t know how many linen towels Vera designed and produced. After all this time, some of them must not be available any longer (d’esol’e). But I am often surprised and delighted when I find a new one to add to the collection.
Towel Condition: I have lightly pressed the towels but did not wash or spot them. Except for this pressing they are as they were when they arrived here.
Apologies to the Towels and to You from the Well Intentioned but Hapless Photographer: Importantly, I started this project during the ongoing pandemic. I got an easel from Office Depot and a new bath towel that is the background you see. And then, with an old iPhone, started photographing them. Part way through, I got a new iPhone and that helped. Kind of. I would suggest that you turn up the brightness on your computer or phone for best results. They are all 50-60 years old and yet so vibrant and that shows in most but certainly not all the cases. The fault is mine; I Intend to photo some yet again but let’s not hold our breath on that.