Rugs by Artists
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Rugs by Famous Artists - Vintage designed Rugs by famous artists represents a collection of inspiring works of artists, architects, and master weavers from the past 200 years. From the ustadans of ancient Persia to Scandinavian modernists to French expressionists and European architects and designers, the rugs in this collection may vary in size, color and design, but all are desirable from a decorative and collectible standpoint.
Some of these pieces portray the unique vision of the artist, which is realized in the ancient art of carpet weaving, while others are simply woven renditions of previously conceived sculptures and paintings. Carpets and Rugs from the Art / Painting world are textural and tactile works of art as diverse as the skilled craftsman and artists who designed and produced them. This page is dedicated to those Vintage Rugs ( Rugs, Carpets and Tapestries ) that were designed by these artisan.
Explore our special collection of art carpets and signed rugs to experience their creative personality and innovative style. The creators of these exceptional antique and vintage pieces were serious artists and craftspeople who dedicated their lives to producing functional carpets that are truly works of art.
An unfathomable amount of time and effort went into composing the intricate ornaments, selecting the perfect colors and weaving these impeccable carpets. Persian ustadans searched far and wide for the most talented dyers, and Scandinavian master weaver Ingrid Dessau clipped a lock of a hair to capture the perfect shade of gray. These artists spared nothing to create carpets and works of art that will always be outstanding. Enter the world of art carpets, and discover the creative ingenuity that differentiates these exceptional artisan rugs.
Art Rugs for Designer Interiors
Art rugs are an impressive lot. These distinctive, creative carpets are a feast for the eyes and a delight to the senses. Art rugs are modern masterpieces that showcase legendary artistic works. The aesthetic value as well as the collectible nature of limited edition art carpets makes them coveted by art collectors and rug aficionados alike.
The creative fury of the early 20th century led to many innovative experiments, including art carpets. Thanks to this leap of creativity, the works of Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Stig Lindberg, Yaacov Agam and many other great artists were immortalized in a new way. These collectible pieces have an infinitely modern presence and unparalleled artistic significance. Mid-century art rugs are must-have pieces for remarkable interiors.
Related page: Textile Art
Known as the master of masters, Aboul Ghasem Kermani (circa 1880-1900) is one of the most prestigious names associated with carpet weaving in Persia and Kerman.
This versatile master weaver is known for his cosmopolitan designs woven in wool and silk, which include boteh motifs, pictorial images, dense floral patterns, extravagant borders and rose medallions borrowed from other carpet producing regions.
Carpets designed by Aboul Ghasem Kermani's embody many of the expressive colors and designs associated with the Kerman region and the revivalist movement that occurred before the turn of the 20th century.
Originally considered one of the pioneers of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Adolph Gottlieb may be more accurately described as an Abstract Imagist—a phrase coined by H.H. Arnason.
Agda Osterberg was a Scandinavian designer and artist born in Stokholm in 1891. After studying at the Higher Arts Industrial School (now the College of Arts) at the university of Stockholm, she became a well-known designer of textiles and rugs, as well as pottery and other household goods.
Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) was one of the most influential American artists of the twentieth century. Enormously popular to this day, Warhol was a transformative figure in the world of art, pioneering and perfecting the Pop Art school, a movement that had enormous impact on just about every aspect of art and design during the mid-twentieth century.
Born to working class immigrant parents, a young Andy Warhol developed an active interest in celebrities and Hollywood culture, and, upon moving to New York City in 1949 at the age of 21, took a job in magazine illustration and advertising.
Combined with his passion for design and budding artistic prowess, this position allowed Warhol to explore the aesthetics of mass culture on an intimate level, and at this time he began creating his own work for commercial production.
Anne Marie Boberg was an active designer and textile artist who produced a wide variety of decorative röllakan during the mid-20th century. Boberg's designs feature chic geometric patterns, softer colors and classical designs that are infused with Scandinavian influences.
Boberg produced many flat-weave röllakan, including several designs that were hand-woven during her partnership with the Axeco Svenska company. In addition to her skill for creating flat-weave rugs and kilims, Boberg produced a landmark publication on the art of macramé during the height of its international revival. Boberg's designs are classic and inherently Scandinavian. Her flat-weave kilims are traditionally signed with the initials "AMB."
Swedish Scandinavian Rugs and Carpets by Anna Greta Sjöqvist AGS Anna Greta Sjöqvist AGS Rugs - was a prolific 20th century Swedish designer and weaver specializing in flatwoven carpets or matta rölakan that often incorporate wide borders and ancient tribal decorations, including stepped polygons, stars, abstract geometric glyphs and stark repeating patterns.
Flatwoven carpets designed and produced by Anna-Greta Sjöqvist are signed AGS in woven letters and were typically produced between 1950 and 1960.
Sjöqvist's designs represent a combination of geometric patterns, modernist principals and classic colors associated with mid-century Scandinavian designs that maintain a timeless yet contemporary appearance almost a half century later.
Anna-Johanna Ångström (born 1938) is an influential Swedish textile designer who has had a long and illustrious career with the Axeco AB carpet manufactory. She is one of Axeco's longest-standing textile designers, and she continues to produce designs for the company.
Ångström's hand-woven kilims are inspired by traditional floral and botanical motifs. As an artist, Ångström is recognized for her masterful use of composition and strong lines. She frequently draws inspiration from floral patterns that were created in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Ångström successfully mixes traditional motifs, quaint Scandinavian details and modern influences that are revealed by the novel placement of the decorative figures. Many of her early carpets from the mid-20th century are still in high demand. As a freelance designer, Ångström continues to develop commissioned textile designs for her Anna-Johanna Angstrom Design firm, which is located in the Lidingo suburb of Stockholm.
New York City artist, Barbara Rae Schaefer explores the essence of life, time and space through her abstract tapestries which take the viewer on a thought-provoking journey through ideas and emotions. Her work portrays a universe in constant motion, inspired by linear Aramaic and Chinese calligraphic scripts seeking to make order out of chaos.
Ms. Schaefer is an internationally known artist who has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums both in the United States and abroad and has represented America at the Salomne D’Autumne in Paris, France. Her work was shown at the City Hall of Oslo, Norway, site of the annual Nobel Peace Prize Awards Ceremony and traveled to Rome, Italy to be on view during the week of mourning for Pope John Paul II. Another piece “Encountering the Second Commandment” now resides in the permanent collection of the American Jewish Museum in Pittsburgh.
Barbro Nilsson nee Lundberg (1899–1983) is one of the most renowned and respected designers and master weavers in Sweden's mid-century handcraft Renaissance. Nilsson was immensely creative and productive as an artist. However, she was also a great leader and teacher.
These talents landed her the position of artistic director at the Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom atelier after the founder's death.
Nilsson's long and illustrious career began in the 1920's when she created textile cartoons and immense tapestry versions of modern Swedish art by Sven Erixson and other artists who were at the forefront of the contemporary movement.
The celebrated Scandinavian artist Barbro Sprinchorn (1929–1973) was an innovative textile artist specializing in designing and crafting kilims, textiles, embroideries and decorative appliqués. Born in the coastal city of Sundsvall, Sprinchorn worked alongside the industry's greatest designers and personalities at the Märta Måås-Fjetterström atelier.
Between 1955 and the mid-1960's, Sprinchorn produced a large number of decorative flat woven rugs and textiles that are marked with the artist's initials "BS" and the MMF AB insignia. Spinchorn's distinctive works feature charming details, colorful flowers and somber botanical motifs.
Berit Koenig was a productive designer and master carpet weaver from Sweden. A highly influential figure, Koenig was a member of the Föreningen Svensk Hemslöjd, which is also known as the Swedish society for arts and handicrafts.
During her long and distinguished career producing rugs, Ryas, and flat-woven Röllakan for the Svensk Hemslöjd, Berit Koenig created a number of named designs featuring geometric repeating patterns and stylized elements imbued with Scandinavian folk-art influences.
Brita Grahn was a Scandinavian artist and designer working during the mid 20th century.
Brita Molin was a Swedish artist and designer working during the mid 20th century. After graduating from the Academie Libre in Stockholm, she went on to study at the National College of Art in Stockholm. She later held a position as the head of the design department at Gothenburg University.
In addition to being a skilled graphic artist and etcher, Molin designed many rugs and textiles, the vivid color and modern aesthetic of which brought her renown in her homeland of Scandinavia as well as abroad.
Formerly associated with the Gammelstads Handväveri in northern Sweden, master weaver Britta Rendahl-Ljusterdal (1927 – present) created in impressive number of carpets, flat-woven rugs and ecclesiastical works.
Now in her 80's, Rendahl-Ljusterdal continues to weave privately commissioned pieces for churches, corporations, public institutions and private clients. Her enduring and illustrious career began at the Gammelstads Handväveri, which is located near the historic Gammelstad Church Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features a commuter village where rural families would stay following long journeys to the local church.
Her early works include ecclesiastical textiles and abstract named carpets, such as "Apple Trees in the Morning," which are typically signed with the initials BR.
The Dutch painter Corneille (1922-2010), born Guillaume Cornelis van Beverloo, was at the forefront of the avant-garde movement in postwar Europe. Corneille was a poet and multi-disciplinary artist who helped earn recognition and respect for modern art.
As a lifelong artist, Corneille had a long and industrious career creating original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, art objects and jewelry. His boldly colored paintings were frequently adapted into art carpets by the Danish manufacturer EGE Axminster and other firms specializing in art rugs.
Corneille was an optimist and self-described painter of joy, an emotion embedded in all his works.
During the middle years of the twentieth century, artisanal carpet and rug weaving enjoyed a tremendous renaissance. All over the world, the interest in fine rugs and carpets was on the rise, and leading designers snapped up as many pieces as they could.
In Scandinavia and France especially, organized ateliers began to pop up, each of which had its own style and approach to rug weaving.
The prestigious French design firm Décoration Intérieure Moderne also known as Décore-Installe-Meuble or DIM (1919-1953) was established by pioneering metal worker René Joubert and theatrical designer Georges Mouveau in 1919.
Is a Scandinavian artist. Currently living and working Hammerfest, in northern Norway, Aalto originally hails from Finland, where she was raised and educated.
Ellen Stahlbrand (1877-1958) was an inventive textile artist who was active during the turn of the 20th century. She created many distinctive textiles and designed influential Scandinavian flat-weave rugs. These pieces put Sweden on the map of international design and helped define the style of the all-important art deco movement.
Carpets designed by Stahlbrand were displayed alongside the works of Märta Måås-Fjetterström, Märta Gahn and many other great designers who appeared in the 1925 International Exhibition in Paris, an event that started the art deco style. Stahlbrand took traditional folk-art motifs and reinvented them for a modern audience with great success. Like other designers in the early 20th century, Stahlbrand was far ahead of her time.
Her pieces were part of the first successful wave of handcrafted works created in a post-industrial climate. The initials "ES" are featured in flat-weave rugs and textiles that are attributed to Ellen Stahlbrand.
Elsa Gullberg was a textile artist and interior designer who left a great legacy on Swedish home design. She was born in 1886 in the coastal city of Malmo, in southern Sweden, but left home to pursue an education in Germany and Austria.
On the continent, Elsa was inspired by new aesthetic design movements taking place, and when she returned to Sweden, she joined forces with other prominent architects and designers.
Together, they opened an exhibit at a gallery in Stockholm that focused on creating furniture, rugs and household products by famous designers, to sell at an affordable price. Elsa's approach to rationality through design had a great impact on the Swedish people especially the upper-class.
Emilio Pucci Rugs, Emilio Pucci the Marchese of Barsento, (1914–1992)was a 20th century renaissance man born into one of the oldest noble families in the artistically inclined metropolis of Florence.
Now a nonagenarian, Ethel Halvar Andersson (born 1917) is one of the most productive and accomplished textile designers and artisan weavers from Sweden's Värmland region. Andersson is highly regarded within Sweden and Värmland County for her work with textiles, fabrics and carpets.
Born in 1917 near Lake Vänern and the village of Kristinehamn, Andersson began her studies in design at age 17 enrolling at the prestigious Konstfack in Stockholm, a university dedicated to arts and crafts.
During her celebrated career, Andersson drafted more than 1,000 original designs for carpets, textiles and upholstery fabrics.
Founded in 1949, the Gavleborgs Lans Hemslojd was a local handcraft organization dedicated to selling locally produced crafts and helping regional artists earn a living.
At the end of the 19th century, after a prolonged period of dormancy, the Persian town of Tabriz experienced an artistic revival and successfully reasserted itself into the forefront of the rug-making world. Perhaps one of the most important figures in this reawakening of Tabriz as an important rug-making center was the master weaver Haji Jalili, from the nearby of Marand.
Haji Jalili is best known today for his incredible and unique approach to rug-making and his preference for distinctive color palettes and design elements.
Haji Jalili is especially known for mixing lighter colors -- such as pinks, golds and grays -- into the design of his rugs. Pieces by Haji Jalili that feature these particular design elements are highly sought after by decorators and collectors.
Hans Krondahl is an internationally known Swedish textile designer, fiber artist, tapestry weaver and painter. Born in Sweden, he was one of the most prominent faces of Scandinavian designs during the 1960s and 1970s. His designs continue to inspire the textile designers and artists today.
Born in Sweden in 1929, Krondahl joined the National College of Art, Craft and Design in Stockholm in 1955 and graduated in 1959. Immediately after graduating, he started teaching textile art and design in schools and colleges.
Although he soon became a renowned and much sought after textile designer, he continued to teach in schools and colleges in his native country as well as internationally.
The renowned Dutch sculptor and designer Hildebrand (Hildo) Krop (1884 - 1970) is one of the most versatile and multifaceted artists active during the 20th century. A singular talent, Krop is responsible for designing some truly magnificent vintage carpets.
Originally employed as a pastry chef and cook, Krop is one of the proverbial Renaissance men skilled in drafting, stone carving and sculpture as well as ceramics.
As the city sculptor for Amsterdam, Krop was heavily involved with architects from the Amsterdamse School creating decorative and architectural sculptures and carvings, which are displayed throughout the city. As an extremely gifted designer, Krop also created designs for carpets, furniture, pottery and decorative items that combine influences from Art Deco and Art Nouveau design movements.
Swedish designer and master weaver Ingegerd Silow(1916 – 2005) was deeply involved with social handcraft societies and commercial design firms in the mid-20th century during the golden-age of Scandinavian design.
Silow was educated at the Konstfack or College of Art and Design in Stockholm and also received training at Copenhagen's famed Kunsthandtweerksskolen handwork school.
Silow developed her own eclectic style through studies in Denmark, the United States and Mexico. As a high-power designer, Ingegerd Silow developed partnerships with many communal handcraft societies, including the Swedish Arts and Crafts Society, the Handicraft Friends, the Svensk Hemslöjd in Stockholm, the handworkers textile school, and the Stockholm City and the County Arts Association.
Ingrid Dessau (1923-2000) was a lifelong artist who received extensive training in textile design under the most prestigious names in the industry. Born in Sweden's southernmost district of Skåne, Dessau was immersed in traditional handicrafts.
At age 17, her formal training began at the Swedish School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. After completing her schooling, Dessau worked under the legendary Barbro Nilsson, who was directing the Märta Måås-Fjetterström studio at the time. Early in her career, Dessau was an important figure at the local Hemslöjden craft center where she designed many rugs, textiles and decorative pieces.
She was also responsible for managing a group of 100 home weavers and artisans. In 1948, Dessau received an important traveling grant that allowed her to experience skyscrapers, jazz music and a variety of sights and sounds in New York and Mexico.
Ida Rydelius was a prominent fiber artist who designed a number of decorative flat-weave rugs and kilims during the mid-20th century. Virtually nothing is known about the artist's life or training, but the classical composition and formal style of Rydelius' textiles speak for themselves.
Her distinctive kilims feature a variety of strong geometric motifs, stepped lozenges and precise shapes that are executed in bold colors. These distinctive pieces are unique yet fit in well with other mid-century Scandinavian kilims in the same genre. Textiles designed by Ida Rydelius can be recognized by the "IR" insignia.
Jacques Borker (1922 -) is a French artist and tapestry designer whose work has been linked to both the abstract and Art Deco styles. In his younger years, Borker studied architecture, design, and tapestry art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He was active in the French Resistance in World War II, and was involved in the liberation of Toulouse.
Today, Borker's work is exhibited in galleries and museums across the world. He is credited with giving late-20th century French Art "a certain elegance" not seen since the 1920's. He is known for his use of bold color and geometric abstraction.
Judith Johansson (1916-1993) was a highly productive designer and weaver who produced a massive collection of ecclesiastical and secular flat-weave rugs and tapestries from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s. Johansson was born in a small rural village in southern Sweden where she maintained an atelier that was taken over by her daughter in the mid-1980's.
This particular region is famous for its textiles and crafting heritage, which is still going strong today. Johansson was part of this local revival and increase in the production of decorative flat-weave röllakan and soft furnishings.
Johansson used a unique design process where she created watercolor sketches that were converted into contemporary weaving patterns. Hundreds of these original watercolors are still preserved in her workshop. Johansson drew inspiration from the idyllic Swedish countryside where she lived and worked, but she also created a number of inventive geometric patterns and abstract floral carpets.
Some of her more experimental compositions, such as the Tjärmark carpet, use a borderless composition and vibrant gem-tone colors that were embraced in the mid-20th century. Johansson's accomplishments earned her several distinguished awards in the 1980s. The initials "JJ" appear as a hallmark on works that were designed and woven by Judith Johansson.
A Pioneer in Modernist Design Jean Lurcat (1892 - 1966) was an artist, innovator and pioneer who revitalized tapestry making in the 20th century. Lurcat was a lifelong artist and an avid traveler.
He lived through two world wars and fought alongside distinguished comrades in the French Resistance. Lurcat's works combine surrealist elements, modernism and classicism.
This results in tapestries and vintage rugs that range from grave and apocalyptic to cheerful and abstract.
The multi-discipline Catalan artist Joan Miro (1893 – 1983) was a pioneer and innovator in modern art. Born in Barcelona, Joan Miro became a prominent fixture in the art world joining a variety of surrealist, experimental and dada groups that were active in France and Spain.
Miro is famous for his paintings, large-scale sculptures, murals, ceramics and tapestries. He was also an avid printmaker renowned for his handcrafted prints and lithographs. Born into the family of a goldsmith and cabinetmaker, Miro studied art before becoming an accountant.
After suffering a life-changing nervous breakdown, the artist's family encouraged him to concentrate on art. Following a successful solo exhibition in 1918, Miro moved to Paris where his works were featured alongside Picasso, Matisse and other greats.
The renowned American designer John Kachel (1809-1889) was one of many independent designers and weavers operating in the Northeast and Midwest United States during the nineteenth century.
A shrewd businessman as well as a uniquely talented individual, Kachel produced jacquard coverlets and ingrain carpets for wealthy clients. Producing unique rugs and carpets, Kachel soon developed a following of influential patrons.
Among those who commissioned work from Kachel: the well-known British activist Elizabeth Fry, who could afford this prestigious luxury. Kachel's work is truly exemplary, and represents a singular development in the American weaving tradition.
Kinheim carpets started the production on September 1, 1910 & within 10 years the company had been widely known throughout Scandinavia for its artistic quality and originality. Their incorporation of oriental motifs into their own modernist designs quickly found their way to many well known venues.
Designer and entrepreneur Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet (1868-1923) was instrumental in establishing Holland’s Kinheim Beverwijk Handtapijtknoperij. The Kinheim carpet studio in the city of Beverwijk was by Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet and his wife Cornelia Martina Polvliet van Hoogstraten.
During the middle years of the twentieth century, many regional crafting societies were formed in order to accommodate the blossoming interest in artisanal rug weaving.
Among these societies: Klockaregardens Hemslojd, an enormously important group responsible for truly magnificent mid-century rugs and carpets. The Klockaregardens Hemslojd (which was active between the years of 1937-1950) is one of many regional crafting societies that operated with Sweden's Hemslojd handcrafted stamp of approval.
The artist's consortium showcased homemade handcrafts, including kilims and matta rolakan produced by local designers and weavers.
Until recently, Marianne Richter (1916-2010) was part of a core group of creative innovators that led a new wave of mid-century design emerging from Scandinavia.
Marianne Richter was part of the foundation that made the Konstfack one of the best textile schools; she was part of the community that made Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom AB so successful; and she was behind the pop art look of the shaggy ryas that covered floors and plenty of other surfaces in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
Like today's mainstream designers, Richter's work covered all aspects of the creative and commercial economy.
The noted artist Marc Saint-Saëns (1903-1979) was an influential French expressionist painter and tapestry artist who had a great impact on the way that France produced fine rugs.
A celebrated figure in his own lifetime, Saint-Saëns was responsible in part for the renaissance and rebirth of French tapestry production in the 20th century. Along with Jean Lurçat and Jean Picart Le Doux, Saint-Saëns established the Association of Cartoon Painters for Tapestry.
This unique group used gouache to paint cartoons for tapestry production resulting in the fluid and uniquely Parisian lines.This unique and easily recognizable aesthetic is closely associated with Saint-Saëns and his best known tapestry works, such as "Thésée and the Minotaur."
Vintage mid-century Scandinavian rugs and carpets have a unique history. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, a number of illustrious artists and designers from all over Scandinavia took to designing fine rugs and carpets.
This renaissance of carpet weaving resulted in some of the finest mid-century rugs ever produced, with a distinct Scandinavian aesthetic.
The Swedish master weaver Märta Gahn (1891-1973) had a long and successful career as a weaver and textile designer creating some of the first printed fabrics featuring Scandinavian art deco designs.
Marta Maas Fjetterstrom ( Märta Måås Fjetterström ) was one of the foremost central figures in Mid Century Swedish Woven / Textile Art. She placed high importance on quality and execution of the designs with the idea that one could experience first hand a vision of nature with each line and every form.
With her vision guiding every single line, choice of colors, patterns and attention to detail it is no wonder why her works are viewed as truly great works of art and treasured by collectors, dealers and private consumers from all four corners of the world.
Ustadan Mohtashem is one of the most revered weavers of Kashan. His rugs are some of the highest quality Persian weavings. The town of Kashan located in central Iran between Isfahan and Tehran is often referred to as the greatest weaving center in western Persia.
Since the 3rd quarter of the 19th century and for about 30 years, the finest and most delicate carpets of wool and silk were woven by arguably the most respected ustadan (master weaver), Zufilkhar Ed Din Mohtashem.
These rugs are noted for their use of purple and ruby red silk bindings for the selvedges. They are characterized by a particular style, color and use of imported merino wool.
Olga Fisch nee Anhalzer (1901-1990) was an extraordinary artist, art dealer and cultural advocate. Born in Hungary, Olga Fisch traveled the world exploring the jungles of South America and living in Morocco where she assembled her first collection of cultural handicrafts.
Although she traveled far and wide when boats, zeppelins and dangerous transport vehicles were the only ways to get around, she is deeply associated with Ecuador and the capital city of Quito where she lived and worked for most of her life.
Ottavio "Tai" Missoni (1921—Present) is the patriarch of one of the most renowned design houses in Italy. For fifty years, Ottavio and his wife Rosita have been working side by side and creating distinctive, highly influential knitted textiles and fashions.
After three generations, Missoni has become a trendsetting lifestyle brand that captures the zeitgeist in a glamorous, folksy, bohemian way.
The Missoni story begins at the 1948 Olympics in London where Ottavio and Rosita first met. Ottavio was a hurdler who had a startup business selling knitted tracksuits, including the outfits that his Olympic team wore.
Pablo Picasso The abstract figures and cubist works of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973) are among the most recognizable and well known works in 20th century art. Born in the Andalusian region of Spain, Picasso was the son of an art professor.
However, stories suggest his father felt Picasso surpassed his artistic abilities at age 13. Picasso is best-known for the abstract cubist style he helped to develop during his career in France.
Widely celebrated for his distinct and innovative style, Paul Klee is one of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century. A German-Swiss painter, Klee's immediately recognizable style includes elements of expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and futurism.
Klee famously taught at the German Bauhaus School of Art, Design and Architecture alongside fellow painter and friend Wassily Kandinsky. Paul Klee is responsible for designing some genuinely beautiful rugs which beautifully showcase his unique style.
Renowned throughout the art world for his striking style and unique opinions on contemporary art movements, Paul Klee remains one of the most important artists to have worked in the past one hundred years.
There are a handful of twentieth-century designers whose ideas and designs were so bold and innovative that they transcended their field to become household names. One of those designers is the legendary Pierre Cardin.
Born in Italy in 1922 and educated in France, Cardin has created an international brand with an impressively diverse range of products.
Cardin has been designing products in his signature style for decades, and had worked on products as varied as clothing, accessories, bicycles, rugs, furniture and interior design pieces.
One of the first pop artists to find a national audience, Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) was acclaimed for creating art that was as controversial as it was bold.
His large-scale masterpieces were an imposition of color and shape, influenced by a variety of artistic styles, from Impressionism to Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism.
Reflecting on the themes that became synonymous with his work, he noted ironically: "All abstract artists try to tell you that what they do comes from nature and I'm always trying to tell you that what I do is completely abstract."
There are some figures from the art world who are truly larger than life, transcending their roles as artists and becoming bona fide public figures.
The surrealist painter Salvador Dalí (1904 - 1989) is famous for his flamboyant style both on and off the canvas, as well as for his remarkable and unique surrealist style.
Dalí was born is Spain and studied art in Madrid before establishing his reputation in the Montparnasse district of Paris.
The story of Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2007) is one of the most enigmatic and engaging in the world of mid-century Scandinavian design. Born into the Swedish royal family, Sigvard Bernadotte lost the title Prince Sigvard when he married a commoner. In fact, he married three times but later regained some royal status as the "Count of Wisbord."
To the people, Sigvard Bernadotte was not only the great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. He was the "Design Prince of Sweden." Sigvard Bernadotte studied extensively and learned the tricks of the trade from the renowned graphic designer Olle Hjortzberg.
Bernadotte partnered with the leading Scandinavian design firms to create everything from stylish plastic household items and sleek furnishings to marvelous mid-century eyeglass frames. However, Bernadotte also designed an impressive number of beautiful flat-weave matta rölakan, including several that were designed for the prestigious Märta Måås-Fjetterström atelier. His flat-weave kilims range from rustic to distinctly modern and always depict the initials "AB."
Sigvard Bernadotte's status, his knack for creating sophisticated modern designs and his practical approach have made him one of the most celebrated names in Scandinavian industrial design and one that is sure to live on forever.
Born in 1939, Ulla Parkdal is an active designer and weaver who is extremely involved with the artisan textile community. For many years, Parkdal has lived in Rindö and worked in the Vaxholm area of Stockholm County. As an artist, Parkdal is famous for her classical, minimalist compositions.
She describes her unique designs as displaying their own textile language. Parkdal's modern rugs and woven textiles have been featured widely within Sweden, including one renowned tapestry that decorates the main assembly hall of the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm.
Parkdal has had a long and productive career with regular exhibitions and publications occurring through 2007.
The Danish designer Verner Panton (1926-1998) is widely regarded as one of the most influential personas in mid-century pop-art and interior design. A master of a variety of media, Panton is most widely known for his innovative use of molded plastics, especially in the development of the famous "Panton Stacking S Chair."
Vibrant colors characterize Panton's work, especially bright shades of primary colors. Abstract and psychedelic themes are common across Panton's oeuvre, but it is his commitment to geometric experimentation that most keenly characterizes the designer's style. In addition to Panton's work with plastics, print, and interior decor, he also created a number of popular vintage rugs and textile designs.
While working in Switzerland, Panton developed these dynamic, distinctly modern carpets and textiles, which incorporate bold, geometric op-art patterns in vibrant colors as well as monochrome palettes - thus, finely typifying Panton's distinct style.
Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944) was a successful lawyer and economist in Moscow before he gave up his career as well as an offer of professorship to pursue art studies in Germany at the age of 30.
After completing art school in Munich, Kandinsky become an art theorist and a professor at the legendary Bauhaus School. Kandinsky is noted for his intellectual theories and abstract concepts on art, and he is often attributed as the first geometric abstract artist.
The works of Kandinsky span four decades from 1910 to the 1940's and include tapestries, rugs and paintings in an immense range of abstract designs.
Born in 1928, Yaacov Agam (nee Yaakov Gipstein) is one of the bestselling Israeli artists famous for his kinetic sculptures and prismatic agamograph images that include secular abstracts as well as Judaic subjects. Agam was born in Israel and studied art in Jerusalem before working with some of the leading artists in Europe.
By the 1960s, Yaacov Agam became a mainstream sensation with his cutting-edge optical art, lenticular prints and geometric abstracts that translated exceptionally well into the textile mediums, including carpets and tapestries.
In the late 18oo's, in Sultanabad, a small town in NW Persia, a Swiss firm, the Ziegler Company, based in Manchester, England set up shop. This innovative company began importing Persian carpets to England and America, appealing to the demanding western tastes.
Their antique rugs are similar to Mahal's but are distinguished by their sparsely drawn, large scale, over-sized designs and use of soft colors.
They are lovely rugs that are enormously popular with decorators.
Few mid-century Scandinavian rug designers boast a style as distinct and recognizable as that of Rakel Callendar.