Double delight at Cooper Hewitt

WAG had advanced – and dreamed about – two exhibitions that recently opened at Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum in Manhattan.

And the press preview that offered the first glimpses into “The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s” and its companion, “Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era: The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection,” proved that the fuss was certainly merited.

The “Jazz Age,” co-organized by Cooper Hewitt and the Cleveland Museum of Art, fills two floors with more than 400 examples of jewelry, fashion, furniture, textiles, tableware, paintings, posters, wall coverings and architecture.

The objects themselves, along with interactive elements, offer quite a journey into a time of bold colors, forms and, perhaps most important, new ideas. There’s everything from a sleek 1926 flapper-style dress from Chanel to a pair of intricate wrought-iron gates that were once part of the Chanin Building, an early skyscraper.

On a much smaller scale, though no less impressive, is “Jeweled Splendors,” which includes more than 100 luxury cigarette and vanity cases, compacts, clocks and other objects. Filling display cases within the Carnegie Mansion’s Teak Room, an appropriately elegant and exotic setting, these small gems invite you to stare – and stare you will, spending more that just a few moments with each of these little treasures.

Together, these exhibitions team up to offer something precious. They not only dazzle on the surface but combined, offer quite the insight into an earlier era.

“The Jazz Age” continues through Aug. 20, with “Jeweled Splendors” through Aug. 27. Cooper Hewitt is at 2 E. 91st St.

For more, visit cooperhewitt.org.

– Mary Shustack

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