Sunday, November 13, 2011

Girl in the Abstract Bed

While sourcing things for a client's modern playroom, I came across the coolest book ever.  Originally published in 1954, The Girl in the Abstract Bed was written by Vance Bourjaily and Tobias Scheenbaum. It's a tongue and cheek story of Modernism and the (anti-art) reaction to it, Dadaism. The illustrations are to die for – all in a Cubist style, and tell the story of a little girl whose bed was made for her by her parents' modern artists friends.

Love this illustration, with her Danish Modern place setting

"There once was a girl
named Nicole Pennsylvania Snow
who, when she was ten months old,
slept in an abstract bed
designed and decorated for her by a famous artist."

It all plays out with a Reactionary grandmother tearing Nicole away from her modernist Danish tableware and Mother Proust stories. Grandmother then brings the girl into the sunshine where "Dada" and "jane" learn that "our baby is primitive after all!" Hilarious! (in a really art-geeky way.)
The gorgeous Modernist silk-screened illustrations by Tobias Scheenbaum mesmerized me. They would have made Braque, Picasso, or even Beckett smile. Unfortunately, the price of the recent reproductions is steep, and getting steeper. But, Godot willing, they just might end up in my space. ;)


  1. How fabulous and kooky! Adorable find.

    :) Hazel

  2. Lovely story! And the sketches too! Have a delightful day, Kellie xx

  3. i can look at them half a day long. wonderful!

  4. What a find, so cool...would love to be able to hunt a copy down!

    1. i have a numbered orginial copy if you are interested


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