When H. Kirk Brown III and his wife Jill A. Wiltse began exploring the world of mid-century British design and collecting the work of Robin and Lucienne Day, they came across the designs of another lesser-known but equally important designer named Jacqueline Groag. What caught their eye beyond her intricate designs were the designs that were included, revealing an unexpected pinnacle in her design process.
“You can’t afford to collect Matisse or Picasso nowadays as a small collector so we were looking for other areas that are beautiful, where the work is beautiful and unusual, but which would form an important collection. That’s how we found Jacqueline,” says Brown.
Groag made his mark in pattern design after World War II. She was born in Prague in 1903 and trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in the 1920s with Josef Hoffman and Frank Cisek. She creates textiles for Parisian fashion houses and the Wiener Werkstatte. She and her husband Jacques, a successful interior designer and architect, and together they moved to London in 1939. Jacqueline’s career took off and for over 20 years as a freelancer, her work was seen for carpets, greeting cards, laminates, plastics, textiles, wallpaper and wrapping paper, while her husband’s work has never found equal footing in the UK.
The Denver couple own more than 600 textiles designed by British women and men, including nearly 30 works by Groag and around 40 of his designs. They will bring their collection, Pattern Play: the contemporary creations of Jacqueline Groag on view at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center beginning with a members-only event on May 11. The exhibition officially opens on May 12 and runs until November 20.
Brown spoke further with Palm Springs Lifee on the couples connection to Palm Springs and the art museum, the fascination with Groag and why his work is a must-see.