Quilts of the 19th and the early 20th century are handcrafted works that are characterized by centuries-old techniques and have been handed down from generation to generation. The traditional sewing works have developed into a notable medium of art.
The coloration and formal clarity of American quilts appear modern and are more deeply connected to contemporary art than any other type of folk art. Especially the Amish, despite or precisely because of their reduced resources, accomplished the most convincing effect with their quilts stitched from fabric remnants.
The Amish are an Anabaptist-protestant movement that originated in Switzerland and Germany in the 17th century. Due to several waves of immigration a huge community can be found in America. The group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships embraces puritan frugality. The members of the community are required to adhere to spiritual and material conformity and complete submission to their order is expected. Artistic needs are not addressed, thus for the women quilting represents one of the few forms of creative expression. According to tradition, girls had to craft thirteen quilts as an endowment before their marriage. The Amish generally used monochrome fabric and combined them in extraordinary patterns. This resulted in works of astonishing modernity, which evolved into possibly the most significant functional-aesthetic folk art.
By instrumentalizing the pattern of serial repetition used in quilts artists of the POP ART movement were the first to bring international attention to this medium. Early on Andy Warhol was intrigued by the quality and aesthetic of American quilts. He had consequently established a vast collection by the beginning of the 1960s. From the 1970s onwards quilts were also presented in renowned museums such as the Whitney Museum in New York.
Ever since the quilts of the Amish people have also been acknowledged by the European art world. Nowadays their works can be found in renowned museums and collections.
The quilts presented at Galerie Klüser 2 are selected from Verena Klüser’s collection. Following Andy Warhol’s suggestion she assembled the quilts during several trips to America in the beginning of the 1980s. In 1983 they were exhibited in the Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Germany.