Weaving Modernism

Postwar Tapestry Between Paris and New York

K. L. H. Wells

View Inside Price: $65.00

March 19, 2019
280 pages, 7 x 10
59 color + 45 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300232592

An unprecedented study that reveals tapestry’s role as a modernist medium and a model for the movement’s discourse on both sides of the Atlantic in the decades following World War II

With a revelatory analysis of how the postwar French tapestry revival provided a medium for modern art and a model for its discourse and marketing on both sides of the Atlantic, Weaving Modernism presents a fascinating reexamination of modernism’s relationship to decoration, reproducibility, and politics. Tapestry offered artists a historically grounded medium for distributing and marketing their work, helped expand the visibility and significance of abstraction at midcentury, and facilitated modernism’s entry into the dominant paradigm of the postwar period. K. L. H. Wells situates tapestry as part of a broader “marketplace modernism” in which artists participated, conjuring a lived experience of visual culture in corporate lobbies, churches, and even airplanes, as well as in galleries and private homes. This extensively researched study features previously unpublished illustrations and little-known works by such major artists as Helen Frankenthaler, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso, and Frank Stella.

K. L. H. Wells is assistant professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“In her excellent and well-researched analysis of postwar tapestry, Wells challenges our understandings of both modernism and the decorative arts, contributing a new and much needed picture of modernism’s complex relationship with textiles.”—Elissa Auther, Museum of Arts and Design and the Bard Graduate Center

“Weaving Modernism is a masterful, broad-ranging study on the history of modern tapestry, making clear its importance to the overall history of modern art through fascinating archival research.”—Bibiana Obler, author of Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky and Münter, Arp and Taeuber

“Wells encourages a more holistic look at the entirety of the artists’ oeuvres to see that tapestry was never a forgotten art form nor an exclusively feminine one.”—Kat Buckley, ARLIS/NA Reviews
Marie Cuttoli
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Cindy Kang; With contributions by Laura Pirkelbauer, Laura

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