Altina Schinasi

Altina Schinasi is the subject of today’s Google Doodle. She is known for her fine craftsmanship in textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. In particular, Schinasi created the iconic Harlequin cat glasses in 1940. Inspired by Venetian masquerade masks, these glasses, with their large almond-shaped frames and upturned ends, have become symbols of glamor and refinement.

This special doodle was made to celebrate Altina Schinasi’s 116th birthday. Altina Schinasi’s drawings are characterized by bold colors, geometric patterns, and abstract text. It has the ability to use color and texture to create visual impact and dynamic designs. Her work draws inspiration from many sources, including Native American art, African art, and modernist art. As such, she is considered one of the most important textile designers of the 20th century, and her work is still admired and collected by museums and private collectors worldwide.

Altina Schinaci was born on January 18, 1922, in New York to an artist family. She studied at the Art Students League in New York, where She studied with famous artists Hans Hoffmann and Maurice Kantor. She is a Gold Award winner from the American Craft Council and a professor of ceramics at UC Berkeley. Her work is still exhibited today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In addition to an extensive working group,

Altina Schinasi has created several notable works, including the ‘Altina Schinasi’ rug for Knoll Textile Company, the ‘Aphrodite’ ceramic vase in 1955, and the ‘Aphrodite’ ceramic vase for Steuben Glass Company in 1955. The “Opus II” necklace She created in 1960 and the “Opus II” necklace she created in 1965. These works further exemplify her artistic skills and new design approach.

From the window design to the creation of the iconic ‘cat’s eye’ frame

Altina Schinasi’s first job after studying design was with Peter Copeland. She collaborated with him on the window design project for the Fifth Avenue store. During this project she found himself working with Salvador Dali.

In the following years, Altina received many patent registrations for its inventions in the field of design. Her breakthrough came early, however, when she created and sold the Harlequin eyeglass frames, or “cat’s eye” frames that defined the glamor of the late 1930s.

The idea for these frames came to Altina when she saw a bad frame in an optics shop window. Finding them bland, she set about creating something romantic and whimsical. Using the

Harlequin mask as a starting point, Altina began cutting the mask according to the frame she imagined. When she started manufacturing and meeting with retailers, she opened an office where she handled marketing and distribution.

In 1939, Altina won Lord & Taylor’s Award for American Design of the Year for her avant-garde style that turned eyeglasses into fashion accessories.

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