November 19, 2009


Shopping bag design for the Brooklyn Museum of Art, design for folk craft from India

My godfather George died on March 11, 2009 and not a day goes by without my thinking about him. Peruvian belts, block-printed bedspreads from Rajasthan, and American Indian sterling bangles were the things my godfather gave me when I was a teenage girl. But his life lessons were far beyond just the interests of my teenage world. He taught me not to judge a period of art before understanding all the others. And, he taught me not to merchandise your house in decorating it. He saved merchandising for his museum shops. At the time {from 1965-1977} he started and managed the Gallery Shop at the Brooklyn Museum. George did it all—from buying {international folk craft from sixty-five countries} to merchandising, and he edited the yearly mail-order catalog. He was the best at it. Former museum director and portrait painter, Tom Buechner said that my godfather George..."did a grand job" and that "the shop was the pride of the Museum." And, former vice chairman Thomas A. Donnelly wrote in 1978 that "during George's stewardship, the Brooklyn Museum Gallery Shop reached its eminent position in the museum field and that it became the proto-type for most museum shops."

Javanese puppet and Taiwanese tiger

I recently found these drawings in a box from George's closet. They are designs for toys, ornaments and folk craft from around the world, scribbled with my godfather's notations and precise art direction. He had an incredibly intuitive and astutely trained eye with an opinion to match! He was a savvy marketer and merchandiser. I can only imagine the perfection and expertise he put into every project at the Brooklyn Museum Gallery Shop. I can hear him directing the scene now.

Painted clay acrobats from Mexico and Puppet with drum from China

Bavarian hand puppet and hand-painted Noah's Arc from Austria

Ceramic owl from Guatemala and American Indian Hopi Kachina doll

Burmese Duck and painted wood Nutcracker from Bavaria


  1. I can tell that George was a wonderful man. How fortunate you were to have him in your life. How absolutely dear that honor him here by sharing these wonderful sketches with us.
    Thank you Barbara.
    Have a wonderful week & A Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. these are wonderful! certainly had a talent- definitely publication worthy. la

  3. Thank you L.A. I love them too!!

  4. What a wonderful part of the history of the Brooklyn Museum Shop. The Shop will embark on a new chapter when a completely new, significantly larger space will open April 4, 2012. Although the facility will be different, the shop will continue to offer a selection of unique items related to the world cultures represented in the Museum Collection.


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