For the first time in Germany, the Kunsthalle München is presenting tapestries that were produced in the Gobelins Manufactory in Paris from designs created by the most prestigious artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Le Corbusier, Joan Miró and Louise Bourgeois. With innumerable large-scale wall hangings that span the period from the end of World War I to the present day, the exhibition reveals just how surprisingly modern the traditional craft of tapestry weaving truly is.
TRADITION & INNOVATION
The exhibition showcases one virtually unknown aspect in the oeuvre of countless modern artists of international renown: taking the age-old weaving technique as a basis, they have turned their attention to tapestry, constantly re-interpreting the textile art form in new ways. Working to artists’ designs, the Gobelins Manufactory, which was founded during the reign of Louis XIV (1638 – 1715), and other French workshops produced not just tapestries, but also furniture and carpets of outstanding quality, examples of which are also on show in the exhibition. The textile masterpieces were created in the manufactories by working closely with the weavers; their combination of artistic finesse and superb craftsmanship remains unsurpassed to this day. The old techniques of producing and dyeing the yarn, weaving and knotting are virtually unchanged in the making of the tapestries. From preparing the artist’s model through to the finished wall hanging, creating a large-scale tapestry still takes thousands of hours of work.
Image: Jana Sterbak, On the way to Marseille, 2004–2015, Manufacture des Gobelins, 250 × 328 cm, wool, silk, Linen, Collection Mobilier national, © Jana Sterbak, Foto: Isabelle Bideau