Vera Paints a Scarf celebrates the work of artist-turned-textile designer Vera Neumann (1907–1993) and her contributions to the field of American design. Today, those who recognize the name know Neumann as the designer of women’s scarves, all signed with a cursive “Vera” and stamped with a ladybug symbol. Yet over the course of her career, which spanned from her label’s debut in 1942 to her death in 1993, she produced thousands of textile patterns based on her watercolor and ink paintings.
Neumann translated her designs into a prolific output that beautified homes and wardrobes across the United States in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s: fabric and linens for the dining room, kitchen, and bedroom, as well as wallpaper, women’s sportswear and lingerie, and her iconic line of scarves. Although she was a household name for several decades and one of the most successful female design entrepreneurs of the twentieth century, Vera Paints a Scarf is the first exhibition to comprehensively examine her career, exploring how her paintings and textiles created an accessible and quintessentially modern lifestyle for American women.