Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol

Whithorn, 1961
2 May – 4 October 2015

Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol is a major international exhibition offering a fascinating overview of 20th-century textile designs from some of the the world’s most renowned artists. More than 200 works on fabric trace the history of art in textiles, with examples from key European and American art movements including Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Modernism, Surrealism and Pop Art as well as the work of leading fashion designers and manufacturers. Featuring work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Henry Moore, Fernand Léger, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Joan Miró, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and William Scott, most of these rare pieces have not been on public display before.

Blending the distinctions between fine art and design, Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol highlights a unique creative medium for artists over the last century. At the height of the separation of the art and life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, textile design offered an effective way to challenge boundaries. Through pattern design and industrially manufactured textiles made for the mass market, artists found ways to make their work less elitist and more accessible to broader audiences in personal and intimate ways through clothing and home furnishings, the influence of which continues to reverberate today. After the Second World War, artist textiles would flourish with the involvement of a new wave of leading contemporary artists with conceptual and pop sensibilities, including Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Ben Nicholson, Sonia Delaunay and Henri Matisse, among others. Textile design offered a natural correlation with graphic design and printmaking and the practice quickly became an important and lasting aspect of these artists’ work.

Early artist textiles went on to become commercially produced clothing, giving consumers access to a Joan Miró dress or a Salvador Dalí tie. Later, various textile companies manufactured artist textiles: Henri Matisse and Henry Moore designed shawls for Ascher Ltd in the UK and Marino Marini, Victor Vasarely and William Scott for Edinburgh Weavers. Post-war in the United States, the new élan led to commissions for artists such as Salvador Dalí and the Hungarian Marcel Vertès. In the mid-1950s, an ambitious collaboration between a textile company and artists produced the Modern Masters series. New York-based Fuller Fabrics released a line of Picasso prints, quickly followed by ‘Art by the Yard’ by Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall and Raoul Dufy. Even Pop artist Andy Warhol turned his hand to textiles in the early 1960s, designing food-related patterns that have only recently become widely known.

Highlighting textiles as a medium for combining art and mass production, this exhibition sheds new light on artistic practice in Europe and North America, as breakthrough works of many renowned artists brought about a wider appreciation of textile design as a medium for artistic expression, revolutionizing textile design and production. Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol and the accompanying exhibition catalogue were organised by the Fashion and Textile Museum, London.

Opening Hours

Daily: 11.00am – 5.00pm.
Wednesdays: 11.00am – 8.00pm.


General Admission: $15.00.
Youth and Student (with ID): $6.00.
Seniors (65+): $10.00.
Children (under 5): FREE.
Family (5 individuals; max. 2 adults): $30.00.
Members: FREE.

Please note that between 5.00 – 8.00pm on Wednesday evenings, the Museum offers pay-what-you-can admission.

Textile Museum of Canada

55 Centre Avenue (Dundas St. W & University Ave., St. Patrick subway)
M5G 2H5

Tel: +1 (416) 599 5321