The Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey has a beguiling new exhibition revealing the ways in which 20th century artists designed for textiles
Click on the picture below to launch a gallery of pictures from the exhibition:
A circle of printed swatches
a printed fabric with flower motifs against a green background
a block printed fabric with shapes and faces on it
a printed dress
a printed fabric with a green man figure motif repeated across it
a headsquare with the design of a woman's face surrounded by vegetables
a tie with a surreal Salvador Dali clock draped over a tree
a photo of a yellow printed dress
a printed textile with repeating surreal portrait pattern
a printed fabric with repeating fish motif on it
a fabric design with flowers and still life sketches
a fabrci design with repeated sketches of buildings
a fabric design with a leaf pattern
a fabric design with a repating pattern of an abstract face against a golden brown and bronze background
A fabric design withn a colourful circus drawing on it
Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism, Neo-Romanticism and Pop Art; the range of art movements that played an important part in the history of the twentieth century textile art is staggering.
And as this illuminating exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum reveals, the list of artists drawn to the egalitarian possibilities of fusing fine art and mass produced art is also impressive.
Pablo Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Henry Moore, John Piper Fernand Léger, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Joan Miró, Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder are just a few of the names on show.
Henry Moore regarded the colourful scarves and curtains he developed for his fabric printer Zika Ascher as “a bit of a holiday” from his sculptural - and largely monochrome - appreciation of form. In the 1950s Salvador Dali was similarly taken with the possibilities of surreal clock ties and Miro’s designs were, for a time, de rigueur as prints on cocktail dresses.
By the 1960s Picasso was allowing his pictures to be printed on almost any fabric, but he drew the line at upholstery. “Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on” he noted as the swatches rolled.
Curators Geoff Rayner and Richard Chamberlain, say the exhibition is a “remarkable glimpse of how ordinary people were once able to directly engage in a personal and intimate way with high modern art through their everyday clothing and the furnishings of their homes.”
With over 200 textile designs, many of which have never been on public display before, this comprehensive survey of textile art in Britain and America Anyone will delight those with a love of mid-twentieth century art - and surprise many more.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
You might also like:
Picture Gallery: Exquisite John Piper landscapes of Wales join Cardiff collection
Art and Life: Ben and Winifred Nicholson and their circle of the 1920s arrive at Kettle's Yard
Picture Gallery: Stunning Georgian costumes at Bath Fashion Museum