For centuries decorative tapestries were among the most prestigious objects owned by the wealthy, and their
weaving involved close collaboration between artists and craftsmen. This boldly patterned tapestry illustrates the collaborative effort between Navajo weaver Rose Owens, modernist painter Kenneth Noland, and tapestry producer Gloria F. Ross. Endeavoring to heighten public appreciation of tapestry as a modern art form, Ross brought together skilled weavers and well-known painters, including her sister, Helen Frankenthaler, to create extraordinary works of textile art. In 1979 she began to work with Navajo weavers to create tapestries based on Noland’s paintings, which she saw as well-suited to Navajo looms and colors. Navajo weavers traditionally visualize their designs mentally, rarely committing them to paper, but for this unusual partnership six Navajo weavers agreed to work from Noland’s maquettes. Master weaver Rose Owens, renowned for making circular rugs, was uniquely skilled to create this woven complement to Noland’s famous shaped canvases.
Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections
Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.