Marion Dorn

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Marion Dorn
Born Marion Victoria Dorn
December 25, 1896
Menlo Park, California
Died January 28, 1964
Tangier, Morocco
Education Stanford University
Known for Textile arts
Movement European Avant-Garde
Spouse(s) Edward McKnight Kauffer (1950–1954)

Marion Victoria Dorn also known as Marion Dorn Kauffer (born in Menlo Park, California on December 25, 1896[1]—died in Tangier, Morocco on January 28, 1964[1]) was a textile designer primarily in the form of wall hangings, carpeting and rugs, however she is also known to have produced wallpaper, graphics, and illustrations.[2] Known for her significant contributions to modern British interiors in particular for her 'sculpted' carpets, she contributed to some of the best-known interiors of the time including the Savoy Hotel, Claridges, the Orion and the Queen Mary.[3]

Early life

Marion Victoria Dorn's parents were Diodemus Socrates Dorn (1860–1913), a lawyer, and Camille Johnson (1870–1932), she was one of five children.[1] From 1912 to 1916 she was educated at Stanford University (with a bachelor of arts in graphic arts).[1]

She moved to San Francisco and shared a studio in Russian Hill, with her former tutor, the artist Henry Varnum Poor, he was her husband from July 1919 to October 1923.[1] In 1919 Poor and Dorn moved to New City, New York, and Dorn gained notice as a designer of batiks.[1]

In Paris in 1923 she met the poster designer Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890–1954), and subsequently resided with him in London, from late 1923 to July 1940. They married in 1950 and moved to New York until his death in 1954.[1]


Dorn's career took off in the early 1920s with her move to London, she was creating batik textiles as well as printing on silk, linen, velvet at the time.[4] Five of her batiks were featured in Vogue magazine in May 1925 which helped her gain popularity and showed her inventiveness.[4]

By 1925 her textiles were featured in many specialty stores in London and since her designs were considered "modern textiles" her work was also featured in galleries and museums in London.[4]

In 1934 she founded her own company, Marion Dorn LTD. and received commissions from major clients, such as the luxury hotels the Berkeley of London and the London Savoy.[2]

She received an honorary fellowship of the British Society of Industrial Artists in 1957 for her contribution to textile design.[1]

She retired to Tangier, Morocco, in 1962, where she died on January 28, 1964.


From 1927 to 1939 Dorn's work was exhibited in many influential European exhibitions as well as exports and exhibitions in the United States including the following:

After returning to New York she worked with multiple firms, including wallpaper manufacturer Basset and Vollum and textile manufacturers A. H. Lee, Goodall Fabrics, Jofa Inc., Mitchell-David, F. Schumacher & Co., and Silkar Studios; longer and more fruitful associations were with Greeff Fabrics Inc. (1956–64), who exported her fabrics to Britain through Warners; the wallpaper manufacturer Katenbach and Warren (c.1947–59); and the hand gun-tufted rug and carpet manufacturer Edward Fields Inc., producing over a hundred designs (1949–1962).[1]


Dorn completed her last major commission (1960), the carpet for the diplomatic reception room at the White House, Washington, DC.[1] She made a significant contribution to British modern interiors independently and in collaboration with architects such as Oliver Hill, Robert Lutyens, Serge Chermayeff, Eric Mendelsohn, Wells Coates, and Brian O'Rorke, and interior decorators such as Syrie Maugham.[1] A cast bronze bust of Marion Dorn, circa 1930-1931 made by Frank Owen Dobson is at the National Portrait Gallery in London.[6]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Schoeser, Mary (October 2008). "Dorn, Marion V." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved October 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. "Marion Dorn Kauffer". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 22 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Lindberg, Scott (2012). "marion dorn (1896 - 1964)". Ars Longa. Scott Lindberg, A Sllab Studios. Retrieved October 22, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Gaze, Delia (1997). Dictionary of Women Artists, Volume 1. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 466. ISBN 1884964214.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Marion Dorn (1896-1964), Textile designer". National Portrait Gallery. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved October 22, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links