Meet Vera Neumann: Artist, Entrepreneur, Fashion Designer & Tastemaker

April 29, 2019

Fresh, modern, optimistic—the textile designs of the artist Vera Neumann captured the spirit of midcentury America. But more than that, Vera was a pioneering entrepreneur, founding one of the world’s first juggernaut lifestyle brands. An exuberant new Schumacher collection championing her work shows why her vision is as compelling as ever.


In 1943, at the age of 35, Vera Neumann and her husband, George, launched their textile business from the kitchen of their Manhattan apartment, using a silk screen hand-built to fit their dining table to print linen placemats that were then cured in their oven. The items immediately flew off the shelves.


Within a few years, the couple had secured a proper commercial space to accommodate their booming production. In the mid-1950s, they relocated to Westchester County to expand again, commissioning the architect Marcel Breuer
to design their printing facility and showrooms, as well as their own home—
they shared Breuer’s Bauhaus philosophy that art should be available to all and incorporated into the everyday. By the 1970s, they’d converted that notion
into a $70 million-plus business, turning out an ever-increasing range of goods that included bedding, clothing, tableware, and, of course, Vera’s signature silk scarves.

Fern Silhouette, Fabric, Green 178230, available in 3 colorways.

Fish School, Fabric, Aqua & Leaf 178211, available in 2 colorways.


Every single pattern always began as a unique artwork by Vera—signed simply, “Vera,” with a ladybug for good luck—no matter how many new ventures the company embraced. Often inspired by nature or by one of her many travels, and with their bold graphics and cheerful, dynamic palettes, the motifs had
mass appeal while still conveying a close connection to the hand. Says Elissa Auther, curator of a major exhibition about Vera opening this fall at New York City’s Museum of Art and Design, “Vera translated the most current design trends for a broad audience who were craving the integration of modern art
and design into their lives.”

Wild Things, Fabric, Black 178250, Available in 3 colorways, Available both in Fabric & Wallcovering.



Early on, Schumacher played a significant role in Vera’s success, premiering her first fabric collection in 1947 and introducing more patterns across the decades. Some of them, such as Birches and Moonpennies, remain popular to this day. Now, with Schumacher’s just-launched Vera Neumann collection of fabrics and wallpapers, whole new generations can swathe their surroundings
in her irrepressible designs.

Polka, Fabric, Blue 178240, available in 3 colorways.

Lemonade, Fabric, Lemon 5009820, available in 2 colorways, available both in Fabric & Wallcovering.



Shop the Whole Collection >


Produced by Georgia Parker. Written by Emily Evans Eerdmans.