Friday, November 5, 2010

Designer of the Month: Trude Guermonprez

Last November, I wrote about the textile artist and weaver Anni Albers as my Designer of the Month. This November, I'm going to be discussing another textile artist and weaver, a contemporary of Albers who is of special interest to me not only because of her amazing work, but also because I spent a year researching and writing about her for my Master's thesis. That's right my friends, I'm talking about Trude Guermonprez. While I am very aware that the name probably doesn't ring any bells for most people, especially not in the way that Anni Albers' name does, I hope that by the end of the month, you'll all see just what exactly is so interesting about this talented woman. Watch out now, because this is where the real decorative arts and design dork in me gets to shine.

 Courtesy of the Trude Guermonprez Archives, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library, New York.

Trude Guermonprez (1910-1976), born Gertrud Jalowetz, dedicated her life to the fiber arts.[1] Guermonprez was born in Danzig, Germany into a family of artists. She chose to stay in Europe and work in the textile industry while her parents and sister fled to the United States to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, escaping the rise of National Socialism.[2] Guermonprez came to textiles, and to weaving in particular, during her education at the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts at Halle, Germany.[3] Known as the “Little Bauhaus” because of the large number of faculty who studied there, the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts was where pupils disseminated the ideals and principles of the school, and was influential in shaping Guermonprez’s aesthetic and weaving style.[4] The effects of this education had a lasting impact on Guermonprez’s work and subsequent teaching style. The school continued to influence Guermonprez throughout her life, affecting the choice of institutions in which she would spend her time once immigrating to the United States. But that's a story for next week. Just like with Albers, I'm going to spend this month discussing Guermonprez's career chronologically, looking at her time teaching at Black Mountain College in week 2, her experience at the Pond Farm Workshops and her "textile graphics" pieces in week 3, and her three-dimensional and portrait works in week 4.

[1] Jan Janeiro, "Trude Guermonprez: A Quiet Journey," Surface Design Journal, (Fall 1991), 6.

[2] Ibid., 6.

[3] Ibid., 6.

[4] Ibid., 6.

1 comment:

  1. my wife and i were happy campers at trude' door, along with her last husband. her first husband did not survive ww 2. we own four of her works. unfortunately the 5th did get finished because of her death from ca of the ovary a very painful ca. we are now offering to donate the 4 because we are getting close to our 80's. she was licky to have survived ww2. she would talk some about it.


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