Amish: The Art of the Quilt

Julie Silber, Author, Robert Hughes, With, Douglas Tompkins, With Alfred A. Knopf $100 (207p) ISBN 978-0-394-58781-3
Deep, vibrant tones of plum, burgundy, teal and hunter green in patterns as starkly simple as Bars or as sprightly as Sunshine and Shadow sing forth from the 82 quilts, selected from San Francisco's Esprit collection, pictured on these large-format pages. Designed and stitched by Pennsylvania Amish women between 1870 and 1950, the quilts exemplify the values in a religious culture that, as art critic Hughes notes in the introduction, ``puts tremendous premium on stable order and material adequacy.'' Pieced from unpatterned cloth and arranged in geometric patterns, the quilts are vivid and modern in effect, demonstrating, in Hughes's view, ``how absurd the once jealously guarded hierarchical distinctions between `folk' and `high' art can be.'' Silber, curator of the collection, provides brief, informative commentaries. Most eloquent, however, are the quilts themselves. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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