Edward L. Bernays
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1924
RECOGNITION THROUGH COLLABORATION: Art in Industry 

Bernays arranged for American silks to appear in the Louvre

Cheney Brothers, a 100-year-old New York-based family silk manufacturing business, found itself losing market share. They hired art director Henry Creange to establish a sense of style for the company, and Creange hired Bernays. When they began their campaign, the French had the monopoly on style. Rather than compete, Bernays co-opted. He created the Cheney Style Service, which included a free mat service for 300 small newspapers, fashion bulletins for department store salesmen, and letters about French fashion to hundreds of newspaper editors.

A firm believer in linking celebrities and products, Bernays arranged for Cheney Brothers's oldest worker to present First Lady Mrs. Warren G. Harding with a silk dress at the White House. When this resulted in massive media coverage, he presented three lengths of silk to the textile museum in Lyons, France, where great silk was manufactured. News of the French endorsement of an American product was cabled back to American newspapers, reinforcing Cheney Brothers's and Creange's credibility.

Next, Bernays invented the "Art in Industry" medal convincing the Architectural League to give it to Henry Creange. The award publicized Cheney Brothers and initiated the concept of art in industry.

Later, when Creange was inspired by French ironwork by Edgar Brandt, Bernays arranged for art shows of Brandt's ironworks draped with Cheney Brothers silks in New York and throughout the country. Art critics applauded and again fashion press and designers endorsed Cheney Brothers.

Continuing to look for French endorsements, Bernays arranged for American silks to be exhibited in the Louvre for the first time ever. Media coverage of the Louvre exhibition furthered Cheney Brothers as spokespeople for art in industry.

Bernays, Creange, and Cheney Brothers commissioned painter Georgia O'Keefe to create art based on the Cheney colors and her paintings were placed in store windows. Cheney Brothers sales increased and they now accepted the fact that public relations could generate sales.

When Paris hosted the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in 1925, Bernays ensured American representation. The Exposition lasted 17 weeks; publicity lasted much longer. This was the first time the U.S. Government recognized "art in industry." U.S. participation in the Exposition also strengthened U.S.-French relations.

For many years textile, advertising, furniture, printing, and other industries reflected the Cheney Brothers's adaptation of French style. Bernays used public relations to "create acceptance of beauty as an important aspect of the manufactured product."

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