Doppelgewebe (design for a double-weave textile)
Swiss, b.Germany, 1897 - 1983
Doppelgewebe (design for a double-weave textile), 1925/1931
Watercolor on square-ruled paper
35.6 x 33.7 cm (14 x 13 1/4 inches) (framed)
Gift of Ruth Kaufmann 2006.26.3
Manuala journal about art and its making. Hand in Hand
Gunta Stölzl’s proposal for a double-weave textile is, in its play with color and form, characteristic of the artist’s prolific output during her tenure at the famed Bauhaus school. An excellent illustration of the Bauhaus’s mission to marry craft and the fine arts, this suggestive study—painted in fluid blocks of watercolor and seemingly tossed off—expresses a spontaneity not often associated with the actual production of textiles. Referred to as croquis, from the French word for sketch, such drawings long served to delineate loose ideas. If deemed worthy of industrial production, this preliminary articulation would be translated into a rigidly detailed, hand-drawn draft of the loom set-up specifying weave structure and color choices, followed by the laborious warping of the loom and the time-consuming weaving process. The delicacy of this watercolor belies the complexity of the intended double-weave technique, signaled by Stölzl’s title Doppelgewebe, a multi-layered structure that simultaneously employs two sets of yarn to create two distinct textile surfaces joined together at intervals.
Stölzl studied at the Bauhaus under the tutelage of Johannes Itten and Paul Klee beginning in 1919, and in 1927 was appointed the only female full-faculty member, or “master,” at the new campus in Dessau, Germany. By generating exploratory designs such as this one during her tenure as head of the weaving workshop, Stölzl nimbly modeled her teaching philosophy: “to loosen up the student and to provide him [sic] with the broadest possible base and with a direction for a systematic approach to his work.”
Kate Irvin, Curator, Department of Costume and Textiles
Edited ByGanz, Sarah Blythe, S. Hollis Mickey, and Amy Pickworth, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2013