Peer Review: Jean LurçatTextiles expert Janis Jefferies on Jean Lurçat, the Frenchman who revived tapestry for the 20th century.

Peer Review: Jean LurçatTextiles expert Janis Jefferies on Jean Lurçat, the Frenchman who revived tapestry for the 20th century.

  • Photograph Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Jean Lurçat (1892–1966) believed tapestry was monumental art and should be experienced like a fresco. While well known for his paintings in the US in the 1920s, from the 1930s he dealt intensively with the form of picture carpets alongside his practice in engraving, poetry and ceramics.

In the years after the Second World War, Lurçat made a major contribution to the dying art of tapestry at a point when many large-scale, expensive European tapestry workshops had little economic viability and were losing money.1 From his base among the centuries-old workshops of Aubusson, France, he introduced contemporary designs to tapestry, working directly on a full-scale cartoon (the name given to preparatory drawings in this medium) to lessen the number of steps from conception to completion. ...

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