WALL POWER! American Folk Art Museum Displays Gift of 21 Striking Quilts in Exhibition Opening This August

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • June 24, 2019

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Baskets Quilt; Artist unidentified, United States, 1930–1940; Cotton, 85 1/4 x 72". Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York; Gift of Karen and Werner. Gundersheimer, 2018.2.16
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

The exhibition WALL POWER! Quilts from the Karen and Werner Gundersheimer Gift, will open on August 6, 2019 at the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) (2 Lincoln Sq., Columbus Ave. at W. 65thSt.) It will be on display for only four weeks - through September 1, 2019.  Included in the exhibition will be quilts recently gifted to the museum by the Gundersheimers. Also to be shown, as an added highlight, is the rare double-page religious text by Pennsylvania German fraktur artist Johannes Ernst Spangenberg (c. 1755—1814). Recently acquired by AFAM, it is one of only three Bibles that exist with the embellished pages by this artist remaining in situ. 

The American Folk Art Museum is renowned for its in-depth holdings of whitework textiles, double wedding ring, crazy, and appliqué quilts, made over three centuries. In 2018 the museum received a gift of twenty-one quilts from Karen and Werner Gundersheimer that introduced new patterns into the Museum’s collection, including Joseph’s Coat, Alphabet, and Spider Web. 

“The American Folk Art Museum is immensely grateful for the Gundersheimer gift, as it expands our holdings and its representations of Amish and Mennonite quilts in traditional patterns,” says Jason T. Busch, director of AFAM. “The museum’s quilt collection now numbers more than 800 works, and with this gift it becomes even more comprehensive and a greater resource for both scholars and quilt enthusiasts.”

Gathered over a period of decades as the Gundersheimers scoured eastern Pennsylvania, and then the Midwest and Southern United States, the quilts are graphically striking examples that embody what the couple call “wall power.” Packing a tough visual punch, “the textiles hold space and defy the deceptive softness of their nature.  The strong graphic design and color sense can be likened to the work of some post-expressionist abstract painters,” adds Stacy C. Hollander, curator of the exhibition.

About the American Folk Art Museum

Founded in 1961, the American Folk Art Museum is the premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of historic folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad.  The museum preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the present.

Tags: folk art

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