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Indepth Arts News:

"Through the Needle’s Eye: American Quilts"
2004-01-11 until 2004-06-24
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, TX, USA

A group of works from the small but extremely important collection of American quilts of the Dallas Museum of Art is the focus for Through the Needle’s Eye: American Quilts from the Permanent Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Organized by Kevin W. Tucker, the Museum’s recently appointed Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, the exhibition includes a variety of quilts created between 1840 and 1945. The exhibition will be on view in the Textile Gallery from January 11 to June 27, 2004.

Through the Needle’s Eye is part of Quilt Mania, a citywide collaboration among 11 Dallas-area cultural institutions exhibiting a wide variety of quilts and hosting quilt-related events. To learn more about Quilt Mania, visit the Web site at quiltmania.org, or call 214/979-6476.

Works in the exhibition range from an appliqué quilt made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, between 1850 and 1865 to The Fannie B. Shaw Prosperity Quilt, Prosperity Is Just Around the Corner, made in Van Alstyne, Texas, between 1930 and 1932. The appliqué quilt is part of the extraordinary group of textiles known as the Landes Dowry, which came to the Dallas Museum of Art as part of The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection. The Landes Dowry, largely the work of three sisters who never married, is one of the largest and most complete groups of dowry textiles known to survive from the 19th century. The quilt, which was stored in a chest and never used, retains its bright colors and strong visual impact.

Prosperity Is Just Around the Corner, made by Fannie B. Shaw between 1930 and 1932, was inspired by the radio talks of President Herbert Hoover, whose upbeat message assured the country that good times were "just around the corner." The last block of the quilt shows Uncle Sam arriving with "farm relief, legal beer, and aid."

Other quilts in the exhibition include designs with traditional motifs such as the Sunburst or Mariner’s Compass pattern; a Barn Raising design, a variation on the Log Cabin quilt; and a variety of patriotic quilts—some with eagles and another, made between 1860 and 1865, displaying the word "Union." An extraordinary version of a Postage Stamp quilt is remarkable for the dedication and expertise of the quilter, Mrs. B. W. Riley of Farson, Iowa. The quilt is distinguished by its use of 69,649 pieces of fabric and nearly 3,694 yards of thread.

"This is an excellent opportunity to display some of the iconic quilts in the Museum’s collection and to collaborate with colleagues from Dallas," said Tucker. "The quality and diversity of quilts in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art is remarkable. This exhibition attests to the Museum’s distinguished holdings in this important area of American textiles."

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