Barnes Foundation to show Marie Cuttoli tapestries: Miro to Man Ray

Joan Miró (1893-1983). Personages with Star (Personnages avec étoile), 1933. Oil on canvas, 78 × 97 in. (198.1 × 246.4 cm). Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Maurice E. Culberg Collection. © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2019

PHILADELPHIA – In February 2020, the Barnes Foundation will present Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray, an exhibition that traces Marie Cuttoli’s pioneering career, from her early work in fashion and interiors to her revival of the French tapestry industry in collaboration with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other modern artists. On view in the Roberts Gallery from February 23 through May 10, 2020, this is the first major exhibition to celebrate Cuttoli’s visionary approach to art and business.

Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray at the Barnes is sponsored by Morgan Stanley. The contributing sponsor is Comcast NBCUniversal. Additional support is provided by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

Groundbreaking entrepreneur Marie Cuttoli (1879–1973) befriended and collected modern artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Joan Miró. Living between France and Algeria, she combined her love of Parisian modernism with her passion for the weaving traditions of North Africa, commissioning textile designs from European artists for manufacture in her adopted home. As her enterprise flourished and received international acclaim, Cuttoli moved away from a colonial business structure and turned her attention to the exclusive art of tapestry. She persuaded some of the most renowned artists of her time to create designs for the historic tapestry workshops in Aubusson, France, bringing the French tapestry industry into the modern era and contemporary art into mainstream life. Under Cuttoli’s stewardship, designs by artists from Miró to Man Ray appeared in domestic interiors and corporate offices in major cities in the US and Europe.

Curated by Barnes Foundation associate curator Cindy Kang, Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray features approximately 40 objects, including large-scale tapestries and paintings, drawings, photographs, clothing, rugs, and archival material. Spanning the 1920s through 1950s, the exhibition includes works by Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Le Corbusier, Natalia Goncharova, Fernand Léger, Jean Lurçat, Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault. By uniting important paintings and drawings with the resulting tapestry, the exhibition shows their true purpose, revealing modernism’s profound dialogue with the decorative arts.

This exhibition holds a special significance at the Barnes; when a selection of the tapestries Cuttoli commissioned toured the US in the 1930s and ’40s, Dr. Albert C. Barnes was one of her most vocal advocates and patrons. The three tapestries he bought after designs by Picasso, Rouault, and Miró form the basis of this exhibition. Among the rich archival materials included in this show is a digitized national radio broadcast of Dr. Barnes speaking about Cuttoli.

“Marie Cuttoli was a trailblazing entrepreneur who breathed new life into the tradition of French tapestry and helped redefine what modern art could be in 20th century,” says Kang. “It is exciting to shine a light on her impressive career and to present a new history of art that includes decoration as a serious endeavor of modernism here at the Barnes—especially given Dr. Barnes’s enthusiasm for Cuttoli and her work.”

About the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, and medieval art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes has expanded its commitment to teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways, investing in original scholarship relating to its collection, and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its program.

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