The collection
Textile with thick, horizontal rippling stripes in yellow, blue, orange, and green, each outlined in black.

Textile, Lokki (Seagull)

Designed by
Maija Isola (1927–2001)
Printed cotton
Produced by
Marimekko Oy, Helsinki, Finland
158 x 137 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, 2004.151

Trained in painting in Helsinki, Isola designed her first printed textiles in 1949 and worked as head designer of Marimekko’s interior fabrics until 1987. She is best known for her colorful cotton prints with giant flat motifs of the 1960s. These designs were popular throughout the decade, becoming synonymous with the name of Marimekko, the Finnish company that produced them.

Cartoonish patterns like this could be used for many purposes: drapery, upholstery, table linens, pillow coverings, or even for clothing. Lengths of fabric could also be stretched and framed as works of art. Though costly because of the high quality of the materials and production, the fabrics were readily available in the United States through the retailer Design Research.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.