Textile designs by Hepworth, Paolozzi and Calder feature in new modernist show

9 August 2017
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2 minute read

Eduardo Paolozzi: Collage Elements (1952), screen-printed rayon for David Whitehead Ltd textiles

An exhibition curated by fashion illustration company Gray M.C.A. will bring together the textile designs of iconic artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, William Scott, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso. Styled by Design aims to celebrate “the revolutionary relationship between the modern artists and textile manufacturers of the 20th Century post-war period” as well as contemporary designers and artists working in the same tradition today.

To be held at London’s Gallery 8 in October 2017, the show will also feature textile design work by John Piper, Zandra Rhodes, Patrick Heron and Vivienne Westwood.

Fabrics such as rayon, silk, woven wool and cotton provided a new medium for modernist artists in the post-war era, allowing them to experiment with texture and colour in new ways. The period also saw these artists working with textile manufacturers, which saw contemporary art become accessible and enter the home, as it hadn’t done previously. This show hopes to celebrate that time, comparing 40s silkscreens by Hepworth with Ascher Ltd, against William Scott’s bold 60s jacquard pieces, for example.

“As prices for modern British art spiral ever higher, collectors, curators and lovers of Modern Art have woken up to the rarity, beauty and historical importance of the textile work of the modern masters,” says curator Ashley Gray. “These rare and powerful works underline the innovative genius of both the artists and the textile producers of the post-war era. Textile departments of leading art schools are increasingly echoing the creative vision pioneered by the modern masters of textile design.”

Gray M.C.A’s Styled by Design opens from 3–7 October 2017 at Gallery 8, London, SW1Y 6BN.


Barbara Hepworth: Landscape sculpture (1947), silk twill, for Ascher Ltd


John Piper: Stones of Bath, Green (1962) for Arthur Sanderson & Sons


Pablo Picasso: Congres Des Peuples Pour La Paix, Vienna (1952), printed cotton


Patrick Heron: Tate Gallery (1979), silk scarf square

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent over a decade working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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