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Decorative Book Papers

July 8–October 28, 1981
East Building, Ground Floor, Study Center

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.


Original exhibition poster
(click to enlarge)

Overview: Almost everyone is familiar with marbled paper. But there are also other forms of decorative book papers not frequently encountered: combed and printed paste papers, spatter papers, Italian gilt papers, and commercially printed papers of the twentieth century. This exhibition included over 50 examples of book papers from the National Gallery of Art Library’s collection, along with descriptions of their production techniques. Both antique and modern marbled papers were displayed, as well as paste print papers from many countries, including examples of the American paste print paper made by Veronica Ruzicka, pupil of Rosamond B. Loring. Other unusual items were a rare first edition of Loring’s Decorated Book Papers and a book of Italian peasant designs hand printed from the block by Eleanora Gallo, from which the Florentine firm of Giannini Figlio is still reproducing colorful repeat papers. The exhibition also featured examples of gilt brocade paper, Curwen prints, and spatter papers. A bibliographic section included Haemmerle’s Buntpapier and Richard J. Wolfe’s work on the marbled papers of the Mann family of Dedham, Massachusetts.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Dorothy Faul, gifts and exchange librarian, was curator.