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From Ridgefield to NYC: Exploring Design History with Helena Hernmarck

Beauty abounded on immersive tour of Ms. Hernmarck's tapestries, captivating the imagination of all.

On June 27, 2024 the Ridgefield Historical Society led a sold-out trip to New York City, providing participants with a unique opportunity to engage with the renowned tapestry artist and Ridgefield resident, Helena Hernmarck, and explore the rich history of design. The group, traveling by bus from Ridgefield, arrived at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum where they were warmly welcomed by Ms. Hernmarck herself. This visit included a guided tour of the new exhibit, Acquired! Shaping the National Design Collection, showcasing over 150 works that highlight the evolution of design from the 19th century to the present day. The exhibit features pieces by both Ms. Hernmarck and her late husband, the esteemed industrial designer Niels Diffrient.

After an enriching morning at the museum and a delightful lunch at Island, the group continued their journey to several notable Manhattan locations to view Ms. Hernmarck’s monumental tapestries. Among the highlights were the vibrant “Summer” tapestry at Columbus Circle, the intricate beech tree tapestries at Lexington Avenue, and the exquisite “Flowers” tapestry at Hudson Yards. Each piece demonstrated Ms. Hernmarck’s ability to blend art with architecture, narrating stories through the interplay of nature and human creativity. The tour provided a rare glimpse into Ms. Hernmarck’s artistic process and the profound impact of her work on urban spaces.

Stephen Bartkus, Executive Director of the Ridgefield Historical Society, emphasized the significance of this trip, stating, “We were thrilled to offer our members this exclusive opportunity to experience Ms. Hernmarck’s exceptional works with her in their architectural settings. This tour showcased the remarkable talent of a Ridgefield artist and underscored the importance of art and design in enhancing our everyday environments. We thank Ms. Hernmarck and her assistant, Ms. Colburn, for making this unforgettable tour possible for the Ridgefield Historical Society!”

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