Quilts are considered by many to be one of America’s great indigenous folk-art forms, but patchwork also has a rich and important place in other parts of the world as demonstrated in a pair of exhibitions opening September 14 at the Newark Museum.
Since purchasing its first quilt in 1918, the Newark Museum has amassed one of the most comprehensive quilt collections in the nation. Drawing 30 magnificent quilts, half by New Jersey artisans, from its rich holdings of more than 150 works, the Museum will showcase the art form in its upcoming feature exhibition, “Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art”, which runs from September 14 through December 31. A broader world view of the art form is examined in a small accompanying exhibition entitled “The Global Art of Patchwork: Asia and Africa” and in a series of special programs, tours and even a patchwork-making session.
“Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art” explores the evolution of quilts from those created for functional use in the 19th century to breathtaking works of art intended only for display. The show includes the Hurley Family album quilt, an example of a 19th memorializing quilt that is being exhibited publically for the first time. It was made in 1867 in Wall Township by the members of a prominent farming family.
“Patchwork offers a rare opportunity for museum goers to view these stylistically and historically important works,” said Ulysses Grant Dietz, senior curator and curator of the Decorative Arts Collection. “This exhibition is a must for those who love textiles, both for their artistic beauty and exquisite craftsmanship. The accompanying exhibition, which takes a global look at the art of patchwork, provides an enriching perspective made possible by the significant global holdings of the Newark Museum.”