hat (bird)

Creation date
feathers, glass beads, wool, silk, plastic
Mark Descriptions
Bes-Ben / Chicago 233
Credit line
Mr. and Mrs. William B. Ansted Jr. Art Fund
Accession number
Not Currently On View

Feathers have been used in millinery, for centuries. Laws restricting the use of feathers from wild birds were passed in the early 1900s, but a trend for feathered hats peaked again in the 1950s. This time, mostly domestic and game birds were used.

Bes-Ben started designing hats with this sister, Bessie, in 1920. The hats were relatively traditional until 1941, after which Green-Field’s creativity and sense of humor began to surface in his designs. Constructed predominantly of feathers, this hat or “rooster” literally nests on the head when worn. Influenced by surrealism, Bes-Ben came to be known for unexpected juxtapositions.

(Doyle New York, sale: Couture and Accessories, December 10, 2003, lot 696) New York (c/o Jennifer McCloskey); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2004).
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