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Ethel Stein
"Indigo" Ethel Stein, American Modern Abstract Geometric Woven Tapestry




"Indigo" damask, indigo-dyed cotton, 34 1/2” x 34 1/2” x 3 1/8", c. 1984-88 This Modern woven and dyed tapestry was done by American textile artist, Ethel Stein (1917–2018). Stein studied historical textile techniques under microscopes to see how the threads and fabrics were made. This allowed Stein to experiment and create new, innovative works throughout her career. Her woven pieces include geometric abstract works, such as "Indigo" as well as figurative images. Her uses of bright, muted, and monochromatic color schemes across her body of work were developed through her own unique ikat technique, allowing for higher contrast and more intense colors over those developed using traditional ikat weaving methods. Ethel Stein’s works were exhibited in group shows at institutions including Cooper Hewitt, the American Craft Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in England, the Netherlands and Switzerland. "Ethel Stein’s work is distinguished by its rhythmic simplicity belied by its extraordinary technical complexity. The basic humility and humanity of the work and its relationship to historical techniques combine to give Stein’s work a meaning far beyond its physical presence. To understand her weaving, is to understand good design, in which the whole is created through the interconnection of many elements." - from "Ethel Stein: A Life Interlaced With Art," by Lucy A. Commoner, Senior Textile Conservator, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian


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