Collecting Vintage Vera Neumann Textiles + Free Printable!

Hi there!  Vera Neumann may not be an artist whose name you are familiar with, but if you’ve ever shopped for scarves at an estate sale or thrift store, chances are you’ve come across some of her iconic mid-century artwork. 

Back in the 1970’s, when Mary Tyler Moore was making it “okay” for women to have successful careers, Vera Neumann was already an artistic rock star, designing tableware, clothing, and her ubiquitous scarves.

Her bright, cheerful designs appealed to women across the country, and on this deep love she built her multi-million dollar business with her husband, George. I hope you enjoy today’s post: Collecting Vintage Vera Neumann Textiles.

I’ll share some historical background as well as provide tips for dating her scarves and other textiles based on her famous “signature” logo. In fact, I’ve got a freebie for you today: a one-page guide to dating Vera!

Other collecting posts you might enjoy include: 1960’s flower power pins, Victorian calling cards, and cross stitch samplers.

You will find affiliate links in this post to Vera merchandise that you might be interested in. Any items you buy (Vera-related or not) will result in a small compensation for me that has no affect on your cost. Thanks in advance! Find more info here.

Collecting Vintage Vera Neumann adirondackgirlatheart.comVera and her husband built their business from the ground up, operating out of their NYC apartment for several years, beginning in 1942. With a DIY silkscreen press they produced napkins and placemats and marketed them to large department stores, like B. Altman & Co.

Her beautiful textiles put her art directly into the hands of people who would not have otherwise been able to afford her original paintings–of which she produced over 8000 in her lifetime. She even went so far as to teach fans how to frame her scarves to create their own affordable wall art.

Vintage Vera Yellow & Orange Floral Scarf late 1960sVera’s products–scarves, tableware, and clothing–are easily recognized by her “Vera” signature, sometimes accompanied by a lady bug as you see here.

Late 1950’s Era Vera Neumman Scarf

vintage Vera Neumann Mum scarf This red floral collage on silk is one of my favorites. Each of her strong, graphic designs began as an individual piece of artwork. Many can be seen in this slideshow of her work called Vera Paints a Rainbow, showing works on exhibit at Alexander Gray Associates gallery in 2015. Prices for her artwork range from $2500 to $10,000 each.

Vintage Vera Neumann Red Mum Scarf Fashion historians attribute the “signature scarf” to Vera; she initiated the trend when she began signing her products in the late 1940’s. Initially, she simply signed her name, as you see here. Products with lower case “v” date from the late 1940’s to the early 1950’s, unlike those with an upper case “V” like this one, which dates to the late 1950’s.  

From a blogger perspective, I find Vera fascinating. She paved the way for creative female entrepreneurs, achieving success at a time with very few women role models. In addition, she established her own “brand” virtually before individual branding was a “thing.” 

Early 1960’s Era Vera Neumann Scarves

Vintage Vera Neumann Fall Leaf Scarf In the early years, she manufactured most of her scarves in silk; later, polyester would be used extensively. While her square scarves are more common, this one is oblong.  You can find and enjoy Vera’s booklet, 14 Ways to Tie a Scarf, HERE. 

Vintage Vera Neumann Fall Leaf Scarf In 1959, Vera added a good luck symbol–the ladybug–to her signature logo. Initially, it was about the same size as the letter “V.” 

Vintage Vera Neumann Yellow Floral ScarfSome people collect Vera by color–like gay yellows and oranges–others by design, focusing on florals or geometrics.

In the 60’s she began producing scarves in acetate and polyester, like this one, making her products even more available to the middle and lower classes.

Vintage Vera Neumann Yellow Floral ScarfThe early 1960’s logo was comprised of Vera + Β© + the ladybug, which was approximately the same size as the “V” in Vera.

1967 Vera Dress Advertisement

Vogue May 1967 Vera Neumann advertisement In 1967 she added a line of clothing, named Hooray, and it was a hit! This Vogue ad explains that whenever you wear one, “people say, ‘Hooray, the sun just came out!’ (Whether it really did or not.)” You could purchase one for $18-23, which compares to $155-198(!).

Enjoy taking a look at some of her clothing line on the Vintage Vixen blog. 

Late 1960’s to mid-1970’s Vera Neumann Scarves

Vintage Vera Neumann Ombre Fall Leaf ScarfBefore hombre grew popular in the 2000’s, Vera had already experimented with it in the 60’s and 70’s, as you see here on another oblong scarf, as she gradually transitions from lighter to darker fall leaves. Available.

Vintage Vera Neumann Ombre Fall Leaf Scarf with closeup of logoFrom the late 1960’s into the mid-1970’s, the size of the “V” grew larger than the ladybug.

By 1972, according to Design Sponge, Vera’s merchandise could be found in over 20,000 shops around the globe

Vintage Vera Neumann Brown Oak Leaves Scarf She definitely enjoyed the almost infinite ways that leaves could be represented, including this collage of oak leaves in various shades of beige and brown. Available.

Vintage Vera Neumann Brown Oak Leaves Scarf close up of logoAgain you can see the late 1960’s to mid-1970’s logo, comprised of a smaller ladybug + Vera (with a large “V”) + Β©. 

Vintage Vera Neumann Black Lines ScarfIn 1972, the Smithsonian Institute in DC held a show of her work, A Salute to Vera, a Renaissance Woman. It included works in watercolor, oil, and collage, most of which found their way onto one type of textile or another. Available.

Vintage Vera Neumann Black Lines Scarf with closeup of logoInterestingly, Perry Ellis got his start with Vera in 1974, only leaving in 1978 to start his own company. 

Vintage Vera Neumann Brown & Black Paisley Scarf A Washington Post reporter in a 1978 story wrote, tongue-in-cheek, that archaeologists in the future would discover “two major American artifacts: the Golden Arches of McDonald’s and ‘millions of rainbow-colored relics bearing the name Vera.'”

Vintage Vera Neumann Brown & Black Paisley ScarfAnd now that I’ve told you all about her, you’re going to see Vera everywhere; I can almost guarantee it(!).

Mid-Late 1970’s Era Vera Neumann Scarf

Vintage Vera Neumann graphic arch scarfThis scarf represents what I consider Vera’s duller, more geometric work, typical of the late 1970’s. But those who love that 70’s style (I lived through it!) eat the designs up. Available

Vintage Vera Neumann Graphic Arch Scarf  logo closeupThe mid-late 1970’s logo was comprised of Vera + Β© but the darling ladybug drops out of sight.

Late 1970’s Era Vera Neumann Napkins

Vintage Vera Neumann Black Leaves napkinWhen Vera and George began their business back in 1942 they initially focused on tablewares–placemats and napkins–which they could easily produce on their homemade silkscreen.

This highly graphic image of black leaves against an almost Escher-esque background is one of my all-time favorites.

Vintage Vera Neumann Black Leaves napkin logo closeupI’m not entirely sure that the Vera dating process is the same for table linens as for scarves, but if it is, then this napkin dates to the mid to late 1970’s, since the ladybug is missing.

Vintage Vera Neumann Pink Tulip Napkin Vera earned millions as an artist and received enormous acclaim during her lifetime; she was no starving artist! The fact that the Met and the Museum of Modern art both have Vera artwork in their collections recognizes the quality and influence of her work.

Vintage Vera Neumann Pink Tulip Napkin logo closeupBut unfortunately after her death at 88 in 1993, her work lay dormant until a merchandiser acquired the license and merchandise began popping up in Target, Anthropologie, Schumacher’s, and Crate & Barrel. We can easily identify these products since they bear Vera’s logo, including the little ladybug. Happily, Vera lives on!

In fact the New York City Museum of Art and Design has an exhibit planned for August 8, 2019 through January 26, 2020 called Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann. I hope to attend πŸ™‚

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Buy Vera Scarves Here:
Adirondack Girl @ Heart Vintage Shop

Find other Vera merchandise HERE.

Bye for now,

Diana

Order my eBooks here:

The Vintage Bundle adirondackgirlatheart.com (2)

25 Items Often Overlooked & Undervalued at Garage Sales
33 Supplies Antique Lovers Can’t Live Without
Your Definitive Guide to Becoming a Garage Sale Superstar

Pin for later πŸ™‚

Learn More About the Designer Vera Neumann adirondackgirlatheart.com

   

Learn all about collecting vintage Vera Textiles including this signature piece with pink tulips and greenery

See more Vera prints HERE and watch a quick video HERE.

 

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32 Comments

  1. That is very interesting, thank you! I feel like I have seen her scarves many times and now I’ll have the back story.

  2. My mother in law loved Vera table linens back in the day. I was too much of a young, inexperienced bride to appreciate it. I was in the matchy matchy country stage of life. After my MIL’s death I tried to keep her Vera linens but they had been stored with fragrant candles & I’m allergic so sadly they went to the thrift store. I really enjoyed your last email on God’s peace. I read it this morning also because our grandchildren were visiting last week. It was perfect for me today as I haven’t been spending time quietly with God and I feel so out of sorts as a result. Thank you.

  3. Hi, This post rang a bell, I just went to find my Vera napkins which still are in great shape. I remembered the signature but really never noticed the lady bug. They had to be from the 70’s I got married in β€˜67. They were pretty much everywhere back then, they’re still in great shape, obviously a quality product. After your post,I’m appreciating them a little more. You made my day, Thank you.

    1. Well you made my day with your lovely comment, Judie–I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! Would love to see a photo of your napkins πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for all the great info. I find Vera items at thrift shops and yard sales frequently and always wished i knew how to date them.

  5. Cool! Last year we received a Vera scarf at our church rummage sale. I knew nothing about her and was thinking Vera Wang instead. Yet you could tell it was vintage. I hope someone got it that appreciates it!

  6. I love this post! What a fun and educational read…and now I’m off to take a closer look at my stash of scarves:)

  7. I really enjoyed learning about Vera. I know I have had her scarves in the past. The feel of silk is just so luxurious to me! I don’t think I ever owned anything silk till I was in my late 30s. My favorite quote from “Real Women Don’t Pump Gas” is ” A woman can never be too rich, too thin, or own too many silk blouses.” As I am bombing out on the first 2, I still look for silk blouses when thrifting! Thanx for all your research!

    1. You had me laughing out loud, Kathy! I hear you–I’ve not done well on the first two either (or the third, for that matter!). Glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

  8. Vera informative-thank you for the dating info! I have many of her scarves and a vintage tablecloth with napkins in unused condition which i was thrilled to find at a tag sale a few years ago.

  9. What a great post, Diana! I, too, remember Vera’s designs from my youth. I might even own one or two–I better look! I have quite a few scarves, but don’t often wear them anymore, so I don’t know what I might have!

    This was so interesting because, as familiar as Vera’s designs are to me, I really didn’t know anything about her personally. She was truly a woman ahead of her time, wasn’t she? And I love knowing all about her.

    Thanks for educating us all about Vera Neumann!

  10. Wow, what a great story! I don’t think my mom had any Vera stuff but I have a stash of my MIL’s scarves so I’ll have to check them. Ironically, I had the idea to put some of her scarves in frames, just never got around to it:) I thought it would be a nice way to remember her. And I hope you’re right about me starting to see Vera everywhere — I think that would be fun! xo Kathleen

    1. Let me know if you find any, Kathleen! Whether out and about or in your MIL’s stash. Glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

  11. I’ve come across a few vintage Vera linens. I enjoyed reading more about her history. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  12. So glad to learn about her! I have some of her textiles, will have to take a look and try to date them now.

  13. GREat article. I too am a huge vera fan and recently ran across a kitchen towel With three lady bugs her signature and no copyright have you ever seen one of her linens with more than one lady bug signature. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Jackie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. No, I’ve never seen any of her textiles with three lady bugs–that’s fascinating. I’d love to see a photo if you get the chance to pass one on πŸ™‚

  14. Great article! I found a bunch of her table wear linens, my grandmother collected and this really helped me to date them. Have you ever come across unsigned linens that were hers?

    1. What fun! I’m so glad my article helped you Rachael πŸ™‚ Funnily enough, I just came across some napkins at an estate sale that I would swear she designed, but there was no signature. I’ve not read anywhere, however, that she produced anything without her signature. She was pretty savvy and in fact is known as an early product “brander.”

  15. I got married in the late 70’s & received a Vera placemat/napkin set as a shower gift. The vinyl mats didn’t make it but now I’ve added to the original 4 napkins to make a dozen.

    I have several sets of 12 napkins by Vera. One set (of daisies) has the original Macy’s keypunch price tags on them! I also have 12 basket of strawberries napkins. Also an original box of 4 Belgian linen placemat/napkin set of grey stemmed roses on cream. Then I stumbled on an additional set of 4 unboxed.

    Today I purchased at an estate sale a dozen Vera knock-off [no logo] print napkins. They are a mod floral design in cream/gold/black/brown with bound edges in brown. The block design on each napkin varies in the pattern placement which is why I know they’re a knock-off. (Vera designs are consistently placed on each napkin.)

    1. Sounds like you have quite an amazing collection of Vera textiles Robin! And you’re really knowledgeable about this area of collecting–thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us πŸ™‚

  16. I just picked up 3 cloth napkins from an estate sale. There’s no tag, but the poppy floral print has Vera in it. There’s no ladybug, and the copyright symbol is before the name. I’m wondering if these are newer.

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