Archive for Raoul Dufy

Life? or Theater? at the CJM/SF

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Female Artists, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER
© Liz Hager, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Above average.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

From 1940 to 1942, while hiding in the South of France from the worsening situation in Nazi Germany, Charlotte Salomon devoted herself wholeheartedly and relentlessly to the realization of a fictionalized autobiography, Life? or Theater?: A Play With Music.  The resulting opus—769 of gouache paintings with text and musical references (edited from the over 1,300 pages she completed) —is a triumph of mixed-media storytelling, a richly thematic and profusely imaginative narrative.

The marriage of Franziska and Albert, Charlotte*s parents, imagined to the tune "We twine for thee the maidens wreath" (from von Webers "Der Freischütz")

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

The 300 pages currently on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (through July 31) encapsulate the essence of the work well enough; I wish there had been some of the pages from Salomon’s art school days. They evoke a happy sense of belonging that was missing for me in most of the rest of the work. Viewers hungry for more may want to consult Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?, which catalogs the entire oeuvre.


Charlotte: Why doesn*t she come, my Mummy—she promised.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

Life? or Theater? traces the arc of a fictional Charlotte’s (Kann) life from infancy to young adulthood. On the simplest level the narrative is about the close relationships of her life, though it actually begins before the fictional Charlotte’s birth with the courtship and subsequent marriage of her parents.  Like her creator, Kann lives in Berlin between the wars. She is the only child in a prosperous middle-class German-Jewish family. The people who intersected Salomon’s real life are given similar aliases here—Papa and Mama Kann (like Salomon’s mother, Mrs. Kann commits suicide while Charlotte is a young child); stepmother, Paulinka Bimbam (Paula Salomon-Lindberg); grandparents Knarres (Grunwalds); and perhaps most importantly Paulinka’s voice coach Albert Daberlohn (Albert Wolfsohn) with whom Kann/Salomon becomes utterly infatuated.


I*ve no one left now. Fate, fate, how harsh you are. And. . .

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

I’ve no one left now. Fate, fate, how harsh you are. And. .

Throughout Life? or Theater? the tension is palpable—between Charlotte and her family, between her and Daberlohn (it’s not clear whether her infatuation was ever more), between the Jewish struggle for acceptance through assimilation and impending destruction.  On a deeper level Life? or Theater? operates as subtle commentary on the range of culture available to middle class German-Jews in Berlin between the wars. Trips to Venice and Rome, recitals and concerts, schooling in art, literature and philosophy are all referenced in Life? or Theater? with imagination, poignancy and sometimes even sarcasm.

The German Jews, of whom each one is so preoccupied with himself that at a dinner party a silent observer feels as if he were in a goose pen. Albert—"First of all I*m sending away my daughter." Woman to his right—"And were going to Australia!" Man to her right—"And what will you do?" Sculptor—And I*ll go to the United States and become the greatest sculptor in the world." Paulinka—"We*ll be staying here for the time being." Mr. Blähn—"And I*ll go to the United States and there Ill become the greatest singer in the world." Daberlohn*s fiancée—"And were going to American, aren*t we Mucki. . ." Maid—"Take this piece, Professor, it*s the best one."

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

In the main section Life? or Theater? is punctuated with references to the growing persecution of Jews. While sometimes direct, they are just as often oblique, such as the series of paintings depicting Charlotte leaving Berlin for France. Salomon was apparently a quiet and timid girl; the paintings are commentary, not the biting satire of Georg Grosz.

Der Stürmer, organ of popular enlightenment. The Jew has made only money from your blood. The Jewish bosses financed the World War. The Jew has deceived and betrayed you, so— German men and women. Take your revenge!!! Once Jewish blood spurts from the knife, you*ll have by far a better life. Hunt the swine until he sweats and smash his windowpanes to bits. April 1, 1933—Boycott the Jews! Whoever buys from any Jew, himself a filthy swine is too.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)


Amadeus Daberlohn, prophet of song, enters to the tune of the Toreador*s Song from Carmen.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)

True to her rich cultural upbringing Salomon was said to have an endless repertory of musical references in her head, and was observed singing while she worked.  No doubt this is why conceived of music as an integral part of the experience of Life? or Theater? to recall musical bits.  In the Prologue,  Salomon describes the role of music in her work:

The creation of the following paintings is to be imagined as follows: A person is sitting beside the sea. She is painting. A tune suddenly enters her mind. As she starts to hum it, she notices that the tune exactly matches what she is trying to commit to paper. A text forms in her head, and she starts to sing the tune, with her own words, over and over again in a loud voice until the painting seems complete. . . The author has tried—as is apparent perhaps most clearly in the Main Section—to go completely out of herself and to allow the characters to sing or speak in their own voices. In order to achieve this, many artistic values had to be renounced, but I hope that, in view of the soul-penetrating nature of the work, this will be forgiven.

While his face is being worked on, the following is taking place in his mind. The vision dominating his senses blends color and music: out of a confusion of swirling lines a theatrical mask of Paulinka takes shape.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)

At first go around, one might be tempted to judge Salomon a naive painter. She did have formal training in art, however, through enrollment in both arts high school and college.   Possibly she rejected more academic styles for this intimate work. Though very little of Salomon’s other work survives to compare, on the Life? or Theater? pages one clearly sees sophisticated influences—of the Expressionists, post-Impressionists, Fauves—and stylistic similarities (to Chagall in particular, as well as references to Michelangelo and Giotto.

And again, when I saw these two pictures, I was reminded of the essay by that other young girl. She makes it very clear: when she is happy and begins to paint, bright colors and red and yellow dots flow from her brush, and when her mood is dark her colors turn dusky gray. And it should of course be noted that this applies regardless of the subject the artist has in mind. When, as in these two pictures, the spiritual mood at the moment of creation happens to coincide wit the despair-filled theme "Death and the Maiden," the result, together with the optimistic "Meadow with the Yellow Flowers," is—on a very minor scale of course—true art. . . My discovery of the similarity between what young girls produce and what certain geniuses produce is completely justified. Like young girls. . .

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper
(Courtesy Contemporary Jewish Museum)

Amazingly, Salomon used just the three primary colors and white for her paintings. The blue of depression, the yellow of joy, the red of passion were her pictorial language. The 769 compositions are amazingly varied—scenes move freely between achingly intimate tête-à-têtes, sequential scenes bound together on a single page, boisterous group gatherings, “talking head” monologues and crowd activities.

For a long time I was covered by the earth. And I woke up among the corpses. And when I then miraculously came home again, I had partially lost my memory.

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)


High on a cliff grow pepper trees—softly the wind stirs the small silvery leaves. Far below, foam eddies and melts in the infinite span of the sea. Foam, dreams—my dreams on a blue surface...

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)

Beyond the thematic complexity, the inventive compositions and fetching use of color the most intriguing aspect of Life? or Theater? is the message embodied by the work itself.   Four-months pregnant, Salomon was murdered, almost certainly upon her arrival, at Auschwitz in 1943.  Thus, Life? or Theater? exists as a most poignant reminder that art is tangible evidence of a life lived. Art  affirms life.

The circumstances of Life? or Theater? suggest another, equally significant, nuance—the power of art to affirm life as it is being lived. Salomon conceived Life? or Theater? in the throes of deep despair. Having learned of the dark secret of her family—the suicides of many of her female relatives—Charlotte felt a mounting pressure to do the same. This project saved her. As she recounts in the Epilogue: “And with dream-awakened eyes she saw all the beauty around her, saw the sea, felt the sun, and knew: she had to vanish for a while from the human plane and make every sacrifice in order to create her world anew out of the depths.”  Perhaps then it should be no mystery why Charlotte Salomon named her fictional protagonist “Kann,” the first-person conjugate of the German verb können. I can, affirmation of being alive.

Charlotte Salomon gave herself to this work with the ferocity of someone fighting for her life.

. . . there awoke in a suffering yet somewhat aloof creature a sense of helplessness of all those who try to grasp at straws in the most violent thunderstorms. Despite her utter weakness, however, she refused to be drawn into the circle of the straw-graspers. . . and remained alone with her experiences and her paint brush. Yet, in the long run, to live day and night like this became intolerable even to a creature thus predisposed. And she found herself facing the question of whether to commit suicide or to undertake something wildly eccentric.Thus in the presence of the scorching sun, purple sea, and luxuriant blossoms, the memory of an experience of her fervid early love came back to her. And she tried to visualize that face, that figure. . . For she discovered that her figure might possibly preserve her from suicide inasmuch as she remembered one of Amadeus*s favorite utterances: Love, know thyself first in order to love thy neighbor. And then: one has to go into oneself—into one*s childhood—to be able to get out of oneself. . . then she did not have to kill herself like her ancestors, for according to his method one can be resurrected in fact, in order to love life still more, one should once have died. . . And with dream-awakened eyes she saw all the beauty around her, saw the sea, felt the sun, and knew: she had to vanish for a while from the human plane and make every sacrifice in order to create her world anew out of the depths. And from that came: Life? or Theater?

Charlotte Salomon, from Life? or Theater? 1940-1943
Gouache on paper.
(Courtesy Reading Charlotte Salomon)

Charlotte and her father Albert Salomon, ca. 1927-28

Wider Connections

The complete Life? or Theater? opus—Reading Charlotte Salomon

Michael Kimmelman— The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa. Among the 10 essays in this book “The Art of Maximizing Your Time” offers a  most beautiful mediation on the redemptive power of art, as evidenced through the work of Salomon, Eva Hesse and Jay deFeo.

Venetian Red“A Different Canvas: Raoul Dufy”

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Venetian Red Notebook: Othon Friesz’s Chromatic Fervor

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting with tags , , , , , on November 28, 2009 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER

Othon Friesz, Paysage (Le Bec de l’Aigle, La Ciotat), 1907
oil on canvas, 25 3/8 x 32″ (courtesy SF MOMA)

It would be easy to overlook Othon Friesz’s Paysage (Le Bec de l’Aigle, La Ciotat) in the upstairs gallery of works on permanent display at SF MOMA. Tucked just inside the entryway on the right, this gem of chromatic fervor is not directly in sight. With the far wall beckoning, one is tempted to make a bee-line across the room, ignoring the wall on which The Eagle’s Beak hangs.

That would be a shame,  because the painting is just about as good an example of Fauvism—that fleeting but influential movement—as exists in the museum’s collection.

If his mother had had her way, Othon Friesz (1879-1949) would have become a musician. But, Friesz, born into a prominent shipbuilding family in Le Havre, convinced her that art was his true calling. Friesz studied at the École des Beaux-Arts (Le Havre) under neo-classicist Charles-Marie Lhuillier. There he met Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy, who would become lifelong friends, as well as fellow Fauves.

Othon Friesz, Bec de l’Aigle, La Ciotat, 1906-7
oil on canvas, 65.5 x 81 cms.

In 1898, Friesz moved to Paris to study at the Beaux-Arts under Academic painter Leon Bonnat.

Despite the academic styles of of teachers, Othon Friesz’s work this period shows the hallmarks of Impressionism—painting directly from nature, interest in the effects of light

In the first years of the new century, however, Friesz sought to break away from Impressionism. In Paris he met Henri Matisse and came under the spell of the emotional force of colors and the power of the flattened picture plane that defined the Fauvist painters. In 1905, he exhibited with the other Fauves at the seminal Salon d’Automne and again in 1906 at the Salon des Indépendants.

Like Matisse, Derain and the other Fauves, Friesz’s style owes much to Cézanne’s innovations in composition, color and brush technique. Freisz pushed color and line into the realm of the decorative, to great effect. Though the compositional lines of this painting swirl with harmonious movement, curiously Le Bec feels like an unrushed effort. It’s less like a plein air work and more deliberately thought out, more embellished as a result of the thinking.

As critic Clive Bell observed in 1921: “… Friesz has a reaction as delicate and enthusiastic as that of an English poet. Only, unlike most English painters, he would never dream of jotting it down and leaving it at that. Such hit-or-miss frivolity is not in his way. He is no amateur. He takes his impressions home and elaborates them; he brings his intellect to bear on them; and, as the exhibition at the Independent Gallery shows, without robbing them of their bloom, makes them something solid and satisfying. .” (Burlington Magazine, June 1921, p.281)

Othon Friesz, La Ciotat, 1907
oil on canvas, 65 x 80 cm (private collection).

In Le Bec, Friesz has succeeded in revealing the essential character of Le Bec, a most unusual natural form. Equally important through his distinctive color palette—warm yellows and reds—he has expertly evoked the afternoon light of the Mediterranean.

By 1908, a revived interest in Paul Cézanne’s vision of the order and structure of nature had led many of them to reject the turbulent emotionalism of Fauvism in favor of the logic of Cubism. (Braque to substantial success.) And yet, the Fauves released generations of subsequent painters from the restraints of “local” color.

Le Bec stands as our own local testament to this brief, luminescent moment in the history of art.

Wider Connections

Scott Hewicker & Cliff Hengst pair SF MOMA Collection with some of their favorite songs, including this Friesz.
Masters of Color exhibition catalog
More Friesz

A Different Canvas: Raoul Dufy

Posted in Liz Hager, Painting, Textiles with tags , , , on October 7, 2009 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER
© Liz Hager, 2009. All Rights Reserved

This is the second installment in a series of posts, in which Venetian Red explores aspects of artist-designed textiles.  For all posts in the series, click here.

Raoul Dufy—Jungle, 1922Raoul Dufy, Jungle, printed cotton, 1922.

A versatile painter, Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was equally at home in the disciplines of fine and applied arts. In addition to several thousand paintings and drawings, he left behind illustrations for about 50 literary works, more than four dozen tapestries, 200 ceramic pieces, and nearly 5,000 fabric designs.

Raoul Dufy, Vieilles maisons sur le bassin de Honfleur, 1906,
oil on canvas.

As an ardent disciple of Matisse, Duffy’s witty and joyous paintings of southern France, with their vibrant colors, calligraphic lines, and sparse modeling, are a testament to the zeal with which the painter remade himself from an Impressionist into a Fauve.

Raoul Dufy—Mme Dufy, 1930Raoul Dufy, Madame Dufy, 1930,
oil on canvas
(Musée Masséna, Nice).

Dufy certainly shared his mentor’s pre-occupation with the decorative. Ornamental elements show up in his earlier paintings. But Dufy’s textile designs are where he manipulates the decorative into sensuous and ecstatic works.

In fact, Dufy’s work in textile design, first with fashion designer Paul Poiret and later with the Lyons-based silk manufacturer Bianchini-Ferier, directly informed his fine art style. The flat decorative pattern of colors he employed in textile designs made their way back into his paintings; by the late 20s all of his paintings fully embrace ornament.

Raoul Dufy—croquis 1920Raoul Dufy, Croquis de Modes No. 1, 1920
(Courtesy HP Prints)

The collaborations with Poiret began in 1910. Though he had participated five years earlier in the prestigious exhibitions of the time (Les Salons d’Automne and Indépendents), Dufy found himself facing sobering financial circumstances. It must have seemed like a godsend, when Poiret, on the basis of the artist’s experiments in woodcuts, commissioned him to design fabrics.

Raoul Dufy, La Fôret, ca. 1911 printed cotton
(Courtesy FDIM Museum, Los Angeles).

Then at the peak of his influence, Poiret was known simply as Le Magnifique, a reference to Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, who had led Ottoman Empire to its most expansive and powerful. Working with fabric directly on the body, Poiret pioneered a radical approach to dressmaking that relied on the skills of draping rather than tailoring and pattern making. Looking to antique and regional dress, in particular “oriental” styles, Poiret advocated clothing cut along straight lines and constructed of rectangles. More practically, Poiret’s trailblazing notions about fashion liberated women from the Edwardian corset.

Raoul Dufy, Design for Paul Poiret, ca. 1917 (Miriam Shiell Fine Art).

Poiret saw no distinction between the fine and applied arts; he saw art and fashion as indivisible. Poiret  promoted his fashions as unique and original works of art in and of themselves. The collaboration with Dufy produced such signature creations as “La Perse” coat, “La Rose d’Iribe” day dress, and the “Bois de Boulogne” dinner dress (which is made from a fabric that Dufy designed in conjunction with Bianchini-Férier). They demonstrate how Dufy’s flat, graphic patterns were ideally suited to Poiret’s designs.

Paul Poiret, “La Perse” with fabric designed by Raoul Dufy, 1911
(Metropolitan Museum of Art).

It was a short-lived but fruitful collaboration. Failing to imitate Dufy’s bold wood-blocked patterns, in 1912 Charles Bianchini made Dufy an offer too good to refuse, and Dufy left his partnership with Poiret to sign on to an exclusive contract with the Lyonaise firm.  This incredibly productive relationship lasted until the late 1920s and produced thousands of designs.

Raoul Dufy (attributed)—Roses, 1925

Attributed to Raoul Dufy, Roses, printed cotton, 1929.

Though many of the artist’s designs were monochromatic, mimicking style of thick lined woodcuts, Dufy also utilized the sumptuous palette of the Fauves to great success. He returned to certain themes again and again—florals and exotic animals (the leopard and elephant for example) were particular favorites. Dufy was a master at designing geometric patterns using blocks of opposing colors—the design created equally by the object and by the negative space enclosing it.

Raoul Dufy—Les Tuileries, 1920-21

Raoul Dufy, Les Tuilleries, woven textile design, 1920-21.

Dufy’s artistic legacy languished for a number decades after his death in 1953. Critics considered his work trivial. Perhaps they could not reconcile the Fine Art /Applied Art dichotomy in his work or maybe they just didn’t know what to do with an artist who so resolutely celebrated life. Nevertheless, it seems certain now that Dufy’s greatest artistic achievement was his ability, irrespective of the canvas, to evoke joy. Once when asked about the role of art in life, he responded: “To render beauty accessible to all, by putting order into things and thought.”

In the process of working both sides of the art street, so to speak, Raoul Dufy helped to change the face of fashion and fabric design. He was nearly single-handedly responsible for the formulation of practically all modern fabric design between 1909 and 1930, and his style radically influenced the popular arts and the commercial design of the Western world.

Raoul Dufy—Interior with A Hindu Girl, 1930, Royal Museum Copenhagen

Raoul Dufy, Interior with a Hindu Girl, 1930
oil on canvas, approx. 32 x 40″
(National Gallery of Denmark).

Even today, Dufy’s vision informs the color, design, texture, and imagery of a wide range of products in our contemporary world.

The Rabbit Hole

More Dufy

Poiret: King of Fashion exhibit

The New Yorker—Judith Thurman “Cut Loose: Paul Poiret’s Revolution

Dufy, Le Bestiaire (collaboration with Guillaume Apollinaire)

Voguepedia: Paul Poiret

A Different Canvas: Series Prologue

Posted in Embroidery, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Textiles with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER

This is the first in a number of inter-related posts, in which Venetian Red explores aspects of artist-designed textiles.  For all posts in the series, click here.

May Morris, Embroidered Coverlet

May Morris, The Orchard, 1896, embroidered wall hanging, silk thread on silk ground.

Generally, Western society  places greater value on the fine arts—i.e. paintings, sculptures—than on the decorative (or applied) arts—i.e. furniture, ceramics, books, textiles. The Giotto painting below is magnificent. The singleton Morris hanging above is equally evocative and finely worked. One imagines each required a similar level of skill and number of people hours to complete.

Giotto—Preaching to the Birds 1295

Giotto, Preaching to the Birds, 1295-1300
Fresco. St. Francis, Upper Church, Assisi, Italy.

If art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions, then the world might agree that the Giotto and Morris pieces are both fundamentally works of art. How then did Western cultures come to assign greater value to a painting than a textile?

In this particular case, one might observe that greater value has accrued to Giotto paintings because they were produced by a man. One cannot discount the fact that many of the textile arts started out as, and remained for a long time, women’s work.  Still, gender can’t be the entire explanation for classification of “high” versus “low” art, otherwise all work by female artists, regardless of form, would be valued similiarly.

The elevation of the fine art form can be traced to the Renaissance, when the hand of man replaced the hand of God in the creation of art, thus begetting the concept of individual and assignable “genius.”  The distinction was bolstered in the 18th century by Immanuel Kant, who philosophically subordinated the “mechanical” (applied) to the “aesthetic” (fine) arts.

Raoul Dufy, block printed fabric for Paul Poiret, 1911.

A simple economic view of the disparity might suggest that fine art has historically had higher utility (i.e. the relative satisfaction from, or desirability of, consumption of a good or service), because a privileged class has consistently desired these scarce goods (artists turn out a limited supply of unique works) and has been willing to pay highly for them. Simply put, paintings are like diamonds, scarce and in high demand.

It may be enough to say that fine art has been scarce historically and therefore in demand. But that doesn’t get to the more interest question of why.

John Berger provocatively suggests in his Ways of Seeing that creating a highly-valued fine art form was in the best interests of ruling classes. He observes that oil painting as a technique (mixing pigments with binders) has been around since ancient times. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that “oil painting” as a distinguishable art form, which could be purchased, emerged.

Sonia Delauney—Large cellular motif with dots, 1928

Sonia Delauney, Textile design, 1928.

Reflect on pretty much any painting from the Renaissance on and you’ll realize that it celebrates someone’s possessions: family, animals, fine clothes, household objects, food, land. Among other purposes, possessions (and beliefs, also depicted in fine art) serve to set one people apart from another. Considered in this light, the whole of painting from 1500 to the present amounts to a visual record of the acquiring classes, a glorification of their lifestyle.

Thus, Berger conjectures that the exaltation of certain art forms (possessions in their own right that celebrated the possessing of things) was a clever way for a ruling minority to justify their their role in society. The rest attached themselves to this history and general agreement was reached about the high value of works of fine art.

(Photographic reproduction techniques have allowed the masses a peek into the fine art tent. Through reproductions and museums—temples to the lives of the privileged Berger might say—the masses reap a reward of fine art, although it is altogether different from the utility experienced by the class that can afford to purchase the works.)

Henry Moore—Barbed Wire 1946

Henry Moore, Barbed Wire (serigraphy on rayon), 1946

In the meantime, over the centuries the applied arts have maintained their utilitarian and predominantly anonymous nature. Society still assigns lower status to utilitarian pieces (terming them “craft” or  at best “decorative”), although they appear no less thoughtfully made or aesthetically pleasing. (Stand in front of a Gee’s Bend quilt and see how it compares to a Hans Hoffman or Sean Scully painting.) Nevertheless, even the most luxurious silk or finely-wrought lace could never have quite the immediate power as a painting to tell the story of the ruling classes.

(“Diamonds” exist in the textile world:  antique Persian rugs sell for upwards of $10,000;  $450/sq. foot fabrics are not within the reach of the masses. And, in their own form of mechanical reproduction, many textile producers and fashion designers have made a business out of reinterpreting high-end designs for the mass-market, which engenders some interesting thought on the utility of “knock-offs.”)

Lucienne Day—Day, tea towel, 1950s

Lucienne Day, Day, Provencal tea towel, 1950s.

In this series we explore what transpires when the fine and the decorative arts gently collide, when the world of assignable genius meets the world of anonymity, when “high” artists stroll in the land of low culture.  Not all artists consider the two art forms as separate and unequal. Specifically we’ll examine the output and motivations of many fine artists for whom textiles were simply a different canvas.

Wider Connections

Walter Benjamin—see “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Essays and Reflections

TextileArts

The Textile Book

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