SPORTSMEN’S BLUES AND INDIAN HEADS
SCREEN-PRINTED COTTONS BY ANGELO TESTA
Now recognized as an important figure in the American Bauhaus movement, Angelo Testa (1921–1984) originally intended to pursue a career in archaeology at the University of Chicago. But shortly after beginning his studies, Testa enrolled in the newly formed School of Design where he received instruction from Hungarian painter and collagist László Moholy-Nagy. The philosophical and aesthetic kinship forged between teacher and student proved valuable to the young artist, and Testa—through paintings, prints and sculptures—became a leading American proponent of non-objective art. Though his talents in these media were considerable, the versatility of Testa’s professional training is most evident in the textiles he designed and self-produced.
At the Institute of Design (as the school had been renamed by the time Testa graduated in 1945), he also worked under the tutelage of Marli Ehrman,
head of the weaving department and a former Bauhaus student. Though Testa learned the craft of weaving from her, and would continue to experiment with weave structures throughout his lifetime, his silk-screened textile designs have had the most impact. In 1947, he established his own business, Angelo Testa & Company, in Chicago. Using both commercially produced and hand-loomed yardage as his canvases, Testa merged artisanal craftsmanship with industrial aspirations. His most important clients — F. Schumacher & Co., Greeff Fabrics, Knoll Associates, and Herman Miller Furniture Co. — introduced Testa’s designs to the American marketplace and ensured their use in a range of modern interiors.