Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol, Exhibition in Toronto, Canada

At the beginning of May in Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto was opened an excellent exhibition Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol. This major international exhibition offering a fascinating overview of 20th-century textile designs from some of the the world’s most renowned artists. Through pattern design and industrially manufactured textiles made for the mass market, artists found ways to make their work less elitist and more accessible to broader audiences. Before arrived in Toronto, the textiles were exhibited in London (UK), Tilburg (The Netherlands) and Lowell (USA).

After the war the movement to create “a masterpiece in every home” flowered with the involvement of leading contemporary artists, including John Piper, Salvador Dalí, and Ben Nicholson. Eventually, these art textiles were turned into commercial clothing, from a Joan Miró dress to a Salvador Dalí tie. By the 1960s, Picasso was allowing his pictures to be printed on almost any fabric, with the exception of upholstery. The sofa was a line he wouldn’t cross, as the curators note: “Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on.”

Salvador Dali

More than 200 works on fabric trace the history of art in textiles, with examples from key European and American art movements including Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Modernism, Surrealism and Pop Art as well as the work of leading fashion designers and manufacturers. Featuring work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Henry Moore, Fernand Léger, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Joan Miró, Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder, most of these rare pieces have not been on public display before.

Picasso 2

Pablo Picasso

The exhibition highlights a unique creative medium for artists over the last century. At the height of the separation of the art and life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, textile design offered an effective way to challenge boundaries.

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

This exhibition sheds new light on artistic practice in Europe and North America, as breakthrough works of many renowned artists brought about a wider appreciation of textile design as a medium for artistic expression, revolutionizing textile design and production. Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol and the accompanying exhibition catalogue were organised by the Fashion and Textile Museum, London, UK.


Andy Warhol

The exhibition date: May 2, 2015 – Oct 4, 2015

Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue (Dundas St. W & University Ave., St. Patrick subway)
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2H5


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