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Sold Archive: Modern Textiles

Weaving samples for window coverings
Dorothy Liebes
American (New York), ca. 1952-60
dimensions variable, the largest 32 x 30.75 in. (81.28 x 78.105 cm)
Known as "the mother of the twentieth-century palette," weaver and designer Dorothy Liebes helped redefine American industrial textile production with her bold experimentation with materials and her post-impressionistic juxtaposition of colors. In the 1930s, she opened her studio in San Francisco, where she first used nontraditional materials, utilizing, in her words, "everything I could lay between a warp," including natural fibers like cotton, silk, leather, and wood, and synthetics like cellophane, Orlon (an early form of acrylic made by DuPont), and (then still novel) Lurex.

In 1948, she relocated to New York, where she moved from handweaving to methods of mass production for the wider market. It was during this time that her work received national praise; Frank Lloyd Wright used her textiles in his interiors throughout the 1950s, and Donald Deskey commissioned from her woven room dividers for the Union Nations Delegates Dining Room in 1961.

These weavings relate to those produced for the UN and are exemplary of what came to be known as the "Liebes look" in interior decorating, a style that was widely copied long after her death in 1972.

From the archives of Dorothy Liebes.

Read more in the Cora Ginsburg Modern 2016 catalogue.

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