Dorothy Wright Liebes: Unorthodox Textiles
Dorothy Wright Liebes (1893-1972) was a textile designer who is known for having developed a distinctive look, including vibrant colors and patterns that became synonymous with the Modernist movement in California in the 1940s and 1950s. Widely traveled, Liebes often drew inspiration from the places she visited around the world for her unique textile designs. Her designs often include bold colors associated with California Modernism. Liebes experimented with materials, aside from traditional materials such as silk and cotton, she was also know to incorporate cellophane and plastics as well as metals and metallic yarns into her designs. Fiercely determined and career driven, when her husband Leon Liebes suggested she quit working she divorced him, choosing herself and her career over the marriage. Her designs were so successful and sought after that they inspired many imitations.
Contributions of Liebes can be found in the Archives of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well as the Copper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, this collection included examples across the Smithsonian but primarily focuses on content from the Cooper Hewitt.