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In 1920, Beacon Blankets, famous for their geometric and Native American designs, was the largest manufacturer of blankets housed in one facility in the United States. The company closed in 2002 and its blankets are highly collectible today. Both Couse and Norman Rockwell created a series of paintings for Beacon Blankets.

According to Virginia Couse Leavitt, “From 1916-1925 the Beacon Blanket Company contracted with Couse to produce a series of paintings featuring Indian blankets. The pictures were designed so that they could be reproduced and the figures cut out to create free standing props to be used in department store window displays. In his usual fashion, Couse approached this work with the intention of creating paintings of individual merit that would stand the test of time, regardless of any commercial use to which they were put. Some of his best loved and most admired paintings were a part of this series.

“Couse well understood the restrictions he needed to consider in order for the image to work as a free standing cut-out. There could not be any thin, extended parts that would easily break off. In Indian Examining a Blanket, the Indian’s body forms a compact curve, while his extended right arm reaches out to touch the edge of a blanket, which then returns neatly to the right, forming the base on which he squats. The composition creates a unified whole that is at once pleasing, yet practical.”

The Artist
Beacon Blanket Manufacturing Company, New Bedford, MA
Private Collection, NY
Property from a Private Collection

Jerry and Kathy Brownstein, Beacon Blankets Make Warm Friends (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Co., 2001), illustrated

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