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1949 Art School Brochure

the cover of an art school brochure
an image of a gate in black and white
an image of a building in black and white
an image of a building in black and white
black and white image of a child, a line drawing of a child, and some toys
a grid of black and white photos of mid 20th century interiors
a grid of images of pratt design objects
a drawing of a medieval era engraver
an image of two people walking through a gate
the back cover of an art school brochure

The Art School Pratt Institute

art teacher education
interior design
foundation art
advertising design
industrial design
textile design
general studies

the school of home economics the engineering school
the art school the library school


the evening art school the evening school of science and technology the school of leather and tanning technology

Pratt Institute was founded and endowed in 1887 by Charles Pratt, a great industrialist of his time who foresaw the coming of the industrial age with its need for trained men and women. He realized that the existing educational system would not meet this need and he determined to create a new type of institution which would relate education more directly to living.
In 1891, while the work was still largely experimental, Charles Pratt died and the fulfillment of his vision devolved upon his six sons-pre-eminently upon Frederic B. Pratt who served as the executive head of the Institute during its first fifty years. Under his guidance, the needs of the changing times were reflected in the Institute’s curricula, which advanced in comprehensiveness as the major departments passed through the many stages of growth and development which led to the present Art School, School of Home Economics, School of Engineering, and Library School.
In 1938, the year after Charles Pratt, grandson of the Founder,
had become president, the Institute conferred its first degrees. At the same time, the shorter certificate courses were continued in those fields in which less than four years of work on the college level constitute adequate preparation.
This changing program, keyed to the changing demands of business and the professions, has provided practical education for over 200,000 students.
The objectives which the Founder had in mind in establishing Pratt Institute have continued to be the purposes of the institution which he founded. Consequently, the Institute aims to develop useful and intelligent members of society by fostering worthy ambition in its students and preparing them to achieve it. It attracts as its students serious-minded men and women who look upon education principally as a means of helping them to make a living, and its courses are therefore designed to provide direct preparation for employment in professional and semi-professional fields.

The seven courses offered by The Art School of Pratt Institute have been developed upon two basic objectives which have contributed definitely toward their ever-increasing success. The first calls for a continuously changing program that synchronizes with the best contemporary professional practices. This realization is possible only when the faculty and student body work together in terms of the business and art activities prevalent in our contemporary culture. To support this program instructors have been secured who are themselves leaders in the various professional art fields. Under their direction the students develop an attitude of seriousness and application resulting in a wholesome professional atmosphere. At the conclusion of his program of study the graduate finds he is in the happy situation of having no gap to bridge between his art schooling and the work-a-day world. The second objective, even more difficult to realize than the first, yet predicated upon it, maintains that the educational intent of The Art School is fully realized only when all its outgoing graduates are employed in the professional field for which they prepared. Programs leading to appropriate degrees in Architecture and Teacher Education have been established for several years. In 1949, the curricula in Advertising Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, and Interior Design, were amplified so that one may elect a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in one of these areas. All men registered in the degree curricula of The Art School are eligible for enrollment in the recently activated Pratt Institute unit of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.


The Department of Architecture offers a program of professional studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Architecture. The curriculum stresses the integrated understanding and intelligent handling of concepts of the physical and social sciences, esthetics, materials, planning, and engineering as applied to architectural theory and design. In the professional courses, the approach to architecture includes the effective analysis of architectural problems and their synthesis into logical and esthetic designs. Individual creativity and the expression of ideas are stressed. The Department of Architecture achieves in its graduates an architectural integrity which further includes the awareness of the architect’s social responsibility and of the constructive role that he can achieve in satisfying the needs of society today.

In order to implement the philosophy underlying the course, two main sequences of study are developed in the design and construction areas. Additional studies which enrich the program relate to the disciplines of drawing, history of architecture, theory of architecture, real estate principles, estimating, contracts, office procedures, landscape design, and town planning. A cultural base is concurrently developed with studies in English and speech, sociology, economics, government, physics, and mathematics.

The design program includes problems in residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and civic structures. In his last semester, the student undertakes, on a professional and mature level, a thesis project which permits him the opportunities of expressing his cumulative architectural development. In the exposition of his design work, the student is encouraged in verbal as well as graphic expression.

This five-year program of studies in the Department of Architecture is approved by the University of the State of New York and is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.


Education is one of the world’s most powerful forces. The United States is foremost in its endeavors to educate everyone. Increases in educational opportunities as well as in the birthrate will require over 300,000 new teachers by 1960!

In addition to helping others to enjoy, understand, and practice art, the art teacher enjoys prestige in his or her community, high standards of living and thinking, security and stability through good salary and working conditions, vacations for travel, study and recreation, and opportunities for growth and development.

At Pratt Institute, the program for preparing art teachers has a national reputation for excellence. The modern, well-balanced curriculum is taught by a staff of very capable artist-teachers. Culturally, the student receives inspiration from New York City and from study in English, social studies, science and art history. Technically, he acquires proficiency in all phases of design; creative, advertising, costume, industrial and theatre; in drawing, he studies the figure, nature, representation, illustration, painting, and photography; in hand crafts, jewelry, leather, pottery, textile, and wood.

Professionally, he gains an understanding of psychology, philosophy, child development, and art education at all levels. His practice teaching starts in the freshman year with observations in the Pratt Laboratory School for Children, where he later teaches in his sophomore and junior years.

As a senior, he observes and teaches in the public schools of metropolitan New York.

Upon graduation with a B.F.A. degree, he is qualified to teach and supervise in public and private schools.


The Interior Designer and Decorator must understand and love people, their little vanities as well as their serious motives, their quest for graceful surroundings, for the amenities of social life.

The Interior Designer is essentially an organizer. He aims at getting efficiency in planning; he coordinates and uses the talents of other designers, or textile and industrial designers, lighting experts, mural painters and artisans of all kinds. The challenge of new ideas, new techniques of construction, new materials to work with is ever present.

The field of Interior Design is expanding with the general rise of living standards. Other than the design of homes, interiors in public buildings, shops and stores, railroad stations, schools and churches pose challenging problems for creative imagination.

To create the physical world of our daily surroundings requires sensitivity as well as technical training. Within the all encompassing term of interior design are many specialized fields like scenic design, furniture design, wallpaper, and textile design, styling, and merchandising, not to forget the editorial opportunities which attract creative women.

The program of Pratt Institute’s course in Interior Design is organized to reach a high degree of professional competence.

The curriculum stresses technical proficiency in design and construction together with the business aspects of the profession. Merchandising offers attractive positions especially for young women who combine a flair for beautiful things with a realistic sense for practical solutions.


The non-specialized Foundation Year provides the prerequisite fundamental training for advanced study in the Departments of Advertising Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, and Textile Design.

Through a series of coordinated art experiences, the student develops a flexible, creative mind capable of interpreting a specific problem in terms of appropriate materials. These experiences equip him with essential manipulative skills while he is learning to recognize the abstract, esthetic qualities that underlie all orderly* expression. In the graphic and plastic representation of human, natural, and man-made forms stress is placed upon the elements of design types of organization, the principles of structure, and an organized approach to color.

In addition to technical-studio classes, the first year includes general studies subjects which extend the student’s cultural development.

During the Foundation Year the student discusses his career objectives with the Dean, Department Chairmen, and members of the faculty. Many students avail themselves of the privilege which the basic year offers, through association, observation, and experience, to investigate the opportunities offered by the advanced courses and their respective fields of specialization.


Advertising is one of America’s great businesses. It is an indispensable adjunct of commerce, industry, and government. Single corporations annually budget millions of dollars to inform the public of products, new developments, and services. Many thousands of men and women are employed in this field.

Each advertisement in magazines, newspapers, direct mail, packaging, and display calls for the services of advertising designers. The field of opportunity and variety of expression are limitless.

While there is always a demand for top creative talent, there is also wide opportunity for all levels of ability that can contribute good taste, good judgment, and technical skill.

Women are readily accepted in all branches of the graphic arts and many have risen to key positions as art directors and heads of their own studios.

The Department of Advertising Design at Pratt Institute is directly keyed to the professional field of advertising. It offers both basic and specialized training in the essential branches of advertising design.

The members of the Faculty, carefully selected for their reputation in the business field and their teaching ability, have only one standard-work of a professional level. Equipped with good training, good taste, and good judgment, our graduates find satisfying employment in leading advertising agencies, department stores and art services.

The course is rich in cultural background, including history of art and esthetics.

The student is taught to understand the motivating forces of the past so that he may better understand the present and his creative participation in it.

The galleries of the Department constantly present stimulating exhibits.

The various subjects in the Department of Advertising Design are focused both on the graduate’s first professional contacts, the “job,” and on his long-range aspirations and objectives.


Illustration is one of the large areas in which the properly trained artist serves commerce and industry. This field offers a great variety of interesting and profitable jobs that call for a great range of special abilities and special skills.

In the main, the outlets for the illustrator are editorial or fiction and non-fiction illustration, commercial and fashion illustration, and book illustration.

Therefore, the art markets that absorb the work of the trained illustrator are tremendous in scope, variety, and volume, and offer great opportunities for both men and women.

The design and technical standards for these many markets are constantly being raised as more creative and graphically mature artists are drawn to them, either as members of special organization art staffs or on a free-lance basis.

The Pratt Institute illustration program has always enjoyed high prestige in the field, and its graduates are in demand and successfully engaged in all phases of illustration.

The Department maintains this recognition and acceptance by providing a well integrated four-year contemporary curriculum of basic and advanced design, painting, anatomy, figure, and illustrative technical subjects, together with a balanced program of general education in English, social studies, history of art, history of the graphic arts, and the sciences. A highly competent professional staff of painters, designers and nationally known illustrators carry out this rich technical program.

The course is designed to extend the students’ graphic and design foundation to two full years beyond the first year, so as to bring them to the design and graphic maturity necessary to determine their fitness for the specialized outlets of book, commercial, and editorial illustration provided for in the fourth year.


The American way of life was a direct cause of creating the new profession “Industrial Design” in the combined fields of art and industry.

When mass buying became the very life blood and most important element in industry, there was created a demand for the type of artist who could design merchandise, both for mass production and for mass consumption.

This designer had to have specialized training, not only in the many phases of art but also in the related fields of engineering and economics.

Pratt Institute was one of the first educational institutions to recognize the important part that this new profession would play in the economic life of our country. Fifteen years ago Pratt Institute established a Department of Industrial Design as part of The Art School.

From the very beginning it met with notable success. The Department has continued to expand and now has three well equipped shops and two studio laboratories in which design experiments are carried on in order to present to the student the latest information pertaining to Industrial Design.

Many industries consider this Department one of the most outstanding in the country and have established cooperative projects with it that include both personal collaboration and financial support.

The most conclusive proof of industry’s approval of our educational program and method of training is the fact that over 96 per cent of the students are employed by industry within six months after their graduation.

The opportunities in the field are many; whether in the areas of jewelry or automobiles, furniture or electric appliances, the manufacturers need well-trained men and women to satisfy the ever-growing demand for well-designed merchandise for home or play, city or country.


Textile Design has been historically important since the sixth century. However, only in recent years has the textile industry realized fully the tremendous importance of style trends in the modern economic world and the function of the textile designer in building sales volume through the medium of his creative efforts. Like any other artist, the textile designer is engaged in creative work and is concerned with the creation of patterns for all types of printed and woven fabrics, papers, plastics, and other materials which require surface decoration.

The ability to draw, paint, and exercise good taste, which enables him to distinguish between originality in design and excessive “artiness” is essential, together with an ever present need for creativeness, thorough understanding of and feeling for color.

The opportunities in the market for the trained Textile Designers are many.

Because of the constant need for new ideas, new designs, and new versions of old ones, the textile designer must be equipped with a fertile and vivid imagination. He must be extremely sensitive to new thoughts, persistent in cultivating an appreciation of sources of design inspiration, and capable of visualizing the effect of a design for its end use.

The challenge is almost unlimited and the Textile Design Course at Pratt Institute is outlined to help you meet that challenge.


“Whatever makes for right thinking and good citizenship” is important in the pattern of education at Pratt. The Founder of the Institute, Charles Pratt, emphasized this element when he projected the establishment of a great group of professional schools where students should learn by doing. In order to serve their community well, Pratt men and women must be cultured and public spirited as well as expert.

It follows that general education in the humanities and the social studies has a place in every curriculum in The Art School.

The humanities are all those subjects which concentrate the attention on individual creative works, whether artifacts or literary masterpieces, while the social studies concern human beings in their group relationships, social, economic, and political.

Throughout the Institute, instruction in courses in these general fields is administered by the Division of General Studies.

The student who earns the bachelor’s degree with a major in any one of the several departments of The Art School has completed a substantial minor sequence in the General Studies. All freshmen consider and practice the art of communication in a course which stresses intelligent listening and reading as well as effective speaking and writing. Upper classmen in all degree curricula complete an introductory sequence of study in social, economic, and political institutions.

Typical courses have such titles as “Contemporary Civilization,” “Contemporary Literature,” “Educational Psychology,” “Great Books,” “History of Art,” “Human Relations,” and “The Impact of Science.” Throughout this program, the objective of the Division of General Studies is to help develop cultivated, enlightened, civic-minded men and women.

AN INVITATION TO THE EMPLOYER: The Art School of Pratt Institute has but one purpose-thorough training for the student so that he may understand and serve the professional field.

The School maintains a Placement Office that we invite you to use. The placement staff may be contacted by letter or telephone during business hours throughout the year.

TO THE STUDENT: Talented young men and women, who desire practical training and a career in the professional arts, are invited to write for the Pratt Institute Bulletin and to apply for admission to The Art School.



Brochure produced in the Department of Advertising Design.

Designed and art directed by Allan Seide, assisted by Sidney Sax.

Photography by Walter Civardi.

Printed by Aldus Printers