PROVOCATIVE PARALLELS: THE MODERN ART OF ANTIQUE QUILTS
"CHEVRON" Amish Quilt, wool, c. 1880s
Loft and home owners with high open spaces have a dilemma. What art can be displayed on large walls that will not seem like a postage stamp, and that can personalize interiors without breaking the bank? Antique quilts with "long distance graphic impact" are the solution, and the subject of a lecture by New York City Americana dealer LAURA FISHER on Sunday, June 27 at 4:00 at the Herbert Johnson Art Museum at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
"There are eye-dazzling graphics that dispel the old mental image of ‘quilt’ as a charming relic from granny's house," according to Fisher. "Many quilt designs seem to reappear in 20th century art movements like Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Minimalism and Pop Art. To discover that similar visual effects came before from the hands of early quilt makers who were unschooled in modern art theories is eye-opening. While the pieced patterns and materials in quilts have an historic component, their visuals can be appreciated without needing to know a thing about their context."
"Compositions that just happen to be constructed from fabric rather than painted on canvas have parallels in works by many 20th-century artists whose paintings are now revered and even iconic. The compositions of Josef Albers, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt, Victor Vasarely, Jasper Johns, Bridget Riley, Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol and Sean Scully, for example, are so like some antique pieced quilts in their appearance and format that one has to wonder whether this was merely a spontaneous generation of ideas or whether artists were influenced by the works of unknown quilt makers of the preceding century."
"Amish quilts of the early 20th century, originating in a culture celebrated for minimalist icons such as Diamond in the Square and Bars were among the first to be appreciated and collected by admirers of modern art. The Homage to the Square color exercises of Josef Albers explore tonal relationships in a way that Amish quiltmakers achieved decades earlier with color saturated wools. Sunshine and Shadow variations find a counterpart in works by Victor Vasarely. Among the most intriguing compositions are log cabin patterns that create square blocks from narrow strips. By varying how light and dark colors were grouped and juxtaposed, larger scale designs originated with evocative titles like Barn Raising, Streak of Lightning, Courthouse Steps, Zigzag, Windmill Blades. Their graphics ‘read’ best and resemble contemporary paintings when displayed on a wall rather than used on a bed, so that from afar one can fully appreciate the skillful manipulation of color and line."
"And, in this economy, antique quilts are recognized even more as a practical art investment. Such quilts offer inch by inch visually compelling wall coverage for very little money compared to works of similar graphics and size by name artists that today can sell for six figures or more."
Laura Fisher 212/ 838-2596
305 East 61st Street New York, NY 10065
tel/ 212. 838-2596
About FISHER HERITAGE:
The nation's premier resource for antique quilts, hooked rugs, coverlets, rag carpet, textiles and American folk art.