The Barnes Foundation opens 'Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray'

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The Barnes Foundation opens 'Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray'
Le Corbusier (1887–1965). Marie Cuttoli, 1936. Oil on cardboard, 44 7⁄8 × 57 1⁄2 in. (114 × 146 cm). Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris. © F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2020.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Barnes Foundation is presenting Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray, an exhibition that traces Marie Cuttoli’s pioneering career, from her early work in fashion and interiors to her revival of the French tapestry industry in collaboration with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other modern artists. On view in the Roberts Gallery from February 23 through May 10, 2020, this is the first major exhibition to celebrate Cuttoli’s visionary approach to art and business.

Groundbreaking entrepreneur Marie Cuttoli (1879–1973) befriended and collected modern artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Joan Miró. Living between France and Algeria, she combined her love of Parisian modernism with her passion for the weaving traditions of North Africa, commissioning textile designs from European artists for manufacture in her adopted home. As her enterprise flourished and received international acclaim, Cuttoli moved away from a colonial business structure and turned her attention to the exclusive art of tapestry. She persuaded some of the most renowned artists of her time to create designs for the historic tapestry workshops in Aubusson, France, bringing the French tapestry industry into the modern era and contemporary art into mainstream life. Under Cuttoli’s stewardship, designs by artists from Miró to Man Ray appeared in domestic interiors and corporate offices in major cities in the US and Europe.

Curated by Barnes Foundation associate curator Cindy Kang, Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray features approximately 40 objects, including large-scale tapestries and paintings, drawings, photographs, clothing, rugs, and archival material. Spanning the 1920s through 1950s, the exhibition includes works by Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Le Corbusier, Natalia Goncharova, Fernand Léger, Jean Lurçat, Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault. By uniting important paintings and drawings with the resulting tapestry, the exhibition shows their true purpose, revealing modernism’s profound dialogue with the decorative arts.

This exhibition holds a special significance at the Barnes; when a selection of the tapestries Cuttoli commissioned toured the US in the 1930s and ’40s, Dr. Albert C. Barnes was one of her most vocal advocates and patrons. The three tapestries he bought after designs by Picasso, Rouault, and Miró form the basis of this exhibition. Among the rich archival materials included in this show is a digitized national radio broadcast of Dr. Barnes speaking about Cuttoli.

“Marie Cuttoli was a trailblazing entrepreneur who breathed new life into the tradition of French tapestry and helped redefine what modern art could be in 20th century,” says Kang. “It is exciting to shine a light on her impressive career and to present a new history of art that includes decoration as a serious endeavor of modernism here at the Barnes— especially given Dr. Barnes’s enthusiasm for Cuttoli and her work.”

List of artists: Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Le Corbusier, Natalia Goncharova, Fernand Léger, Jean Lurçat, Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault.

The curator:
Cindy Kang is associate curator at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. Her research and publications have focused on the relationship between painting and decorative arts in late 19th- and early 20th-century France. She served as managing curator for the Barnes presentations of Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist (2018–19) and Renoir: Father and Son/Painting and Cinema (2018). She previously held curatorial and research positions at the Bard Graduate Center, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Frick Collection, and was a scholar-in-residence at the Getty Research Institute. She received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

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