Book List: Vera—The Art and Life of an Icon

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


It doesn’t matter where I go so long as I break my routine and see new things
— Vera Neumann

Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon by Susan Seid is a book that documents the life of American artist, traveller and entrepreneur Vera Neumann. Born in 1907 to Russian immigrants, Vera dreamed of making a life as an artist, but didn’t think that she would ever be able to make enough money to support herself. When she met her husband all of that changed, and they went into business together, creating silk screened place mats and napkins on their kitchen table.

Just as productivity was growing, and success seemed within reach,  World War II began and the fabric supply for small businesses completely dried up.

One day, while scouring local stores for linen and cotton, Vera came across parachute silk at an army surplus store. She bought all of it and began what was to become her famous scarf collection.

Vera’s designs were based on her original artwork which featured whimsical florals, elements of nature, or imagery inspired by her extensive travels. (She frequently traveled alone, which was extremely rare for women to do at the time). She created wallpaper, bedding, tablecloths, dresses, blouses and scarfs in her lifetime and since her death, a brand called We Love Vera has taken her designs and used them to create new products like dish-ware and clothing to carry on her legacy. 

This book tells Vera’s inspiring story and features beautiful photos and renderings of her designs from the beginning stage to finished product. You can find it for sale here