Celebrating Quilts and the Art of Quilting!
Antique American Quilts and Art – Art and Americana come together perfectly in quilts. If we forget about football and baseball, quilting could be America’s past-time. Not too long ago, quilting rose to fame once again thanks to a landmark 1971 exhibit held at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Over 40 years later, “Abstract Design in American Quilts” lives on as one of the greatest collections of quilts ever assembled, and it’s kept growing.
Today, the collection of quilts originally acquired by art aficionado Jonathan Holstein and his partner Gail van der Hoof is owned by the University of Nebraska Foundation and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.
It includes the original 60 “high art” quilts that appeared at the Whitney way back when, plus 100 Amish quilts from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and parts of the Midwest, as well as an additional 240 patchwork and applique quilts gathered in Pennsylvania between the late 1960s and 2003 when the collection was donated.
This humble anthology has remained wildly popular, generating interest in American folk art and introducing new people to the craft. In fact the quilting Renaissance is stronger than ever within the United States and in faraway places like Japan. One exhibition paved the way for many others, including the abstract quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, that have toured the country.
Traditional quilts are equally beguiling with their functional and highly decorative form and charming names, like Pickle Dish, Arkansas Crossroads, Ohio Star, Grandma’s Garden, Mariner’s Compass and New York Beauty.
Quilts are also a way to make a social statement and send a message. The famous AIDS quilt that began in 1987 and was laid out on the Washington Mall years later now measures over 1.3 million square feet, and it continues to grow. Even renowned twentieth century pop artist Andy Warhol collected quilts, including a gorgeous 1875 quilt created for America’s first centennial.
Whatever your personal aesthetics might be, now is the perfect time to discover or re-discover the art of this beloved handcraft. Quilting is a unique art form, and there exists a wide range of styles, with quilts having been woven for an incredibly wide array of reasons – sometimes to commemorate a birth, sometimes to commemorate a death, and still other times just for the sake of art.
Explore the artistic world of quilts today and discover something beautiful!