QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Sunday, August 18, 2013

W.P.A. Quilt Paintings

Louise Kent,Log Cabin Detail
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

I came across a wonderful little exhibit of watercolors at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library's Sabatini Gallery, where they are displaying several watercolors of antique quilts painted for the Index of American Design about 1939 or '40.

The show is up through September 22.

Louise Kent, Log Cabin Detail
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

The federal government, through the WPA, hired artists to document American Decorative Arts at a time when color film was unreliable.

Louise Kent, Log Cabin 
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940
A Margaret Louise Kent is listed in the WPA biographes
as having been born in Clovis, New Mexico, September 14, 1913.
Studied at Washburn College, Topeka.

It's hard to believe these are watercolors. I have never seen any in real life before and it was interesting to see that they are drawn and then painted in. A lot of the quilting lines are done in pencil.


Louise Kent, Log Moon and Stars
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

I have blogged about the Index of American Design before. Click here:
http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2010/09/index-of-american-design.html

Unknown artist
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

It seems these women were Kansas artists, painting Kansas quilts. I could find little biographical information about any of them.
Ethel Lillian Gray
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940



Mary Hockett, Noon Day Lily
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

Norma Lockwood, English Ivy
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940
The Library's Flickr page features a larger photo of this painting with the following
biography:

"About Norma Lockwood (1897 – 1973)
Lockwood grew up in Baldwin, Kansas, and lived all her life in Kansas. She was a graduate of Baker University, and worked as an artist at the Chicago Museum of Natural History, illustrating magazine covers and children's books. She worked as a WPA artist in KS in 1939. Lockwood participated in the 11th Annual Kansas Artists exhibit in 1936.
This 1850 double bed quilt was owned by Mrs. Carrie Meyer of Topeka, Kansas. The original owner and maker was Allie Lockwood of College Springs, Iowa."


Marguerite R. Wright, Daisy
Watercolor for the W.P.A., about 1940

3 comments:

Helen said...

They are all very pretty. Thanks for making me aware of them. The WPA funded some wonderful art projects. The photographs of America are some of my favorites.

Martha said...

WOW!! Those are amazing works of art and I love the story behind them!!! Thank you so much for sharing :^)

WoolenSails said...

Those are really beautiful and it is amazing how they get the effect of quilting with shadowing.

Debbie