Industrial Designer: Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960)
March 23 - May 18, 2003
Walter Dorwin Teague was an industrial designer who pioneered in the establishment of industrial design as a profession in the United States. Teague, who studied painting at the Art Students League in New York (1903-07), began his professional career as a graphic designer illustrating magazines. Soon Teague’s clients began to seek his advice about product design so in 1926 he formed an office devoted exclusively to industrial design. He would create products, exhibits, corporate graphics, and interiors. At the time America was entering the Great Depression and large companies, intent upon finding measures to survive, turned to talented industrial designers. Teague was recommended by Metropolitan Museum curators to Eastman Kodak (1928), which retained him to produce cameras. He insisted on working closely with engineers in the Eastman factory; the results were successful, and the firm remained a client until his death. "Teague" and the Brownie Camera became synonymous.
In 1930 Teague’s revolutionary design for the Marmon 16 automobile, designed with his son Dorwin, attracted widespread attention. Late in the decade he designed a number of exhibits for the New York World’s Fair and the Golden Gate (San Francisco) International Exposition (both in 1939.40). Other notable designs were for Corning Glass, Polaroid, Montgomery Ward, and the New Haven Railway Coach company. He designed Steinway pianos (one was in the exhibition), office machines, glassware for Steuben, Spartan radios, Texaco service stations, and much more.
The North Dakota Museum of Art exhibition was curated by Mildred Constantine who for twenty-seven years served as a curator in the department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.