National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Quilt Quilt
Rendered by Marian Curtis Foster (artist), c. 1938
watercolor and graphite on paperboard
overall: 44.6 x 37.8 cm (17 9/16 x 14 7/8 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 15 of 17

Along with pieced quilts, appliqué quilts were popular. In appliqué quilts, each element of the design was cut out, the edges turned under, and the pieces stitched to a plain backing, usually white muslin. This method provided for a wide range of decorative patterns. In addition to geometric designs, elaborate floral motifs were prevalent. Here is a meticulously crafted appliqué quilt with decoration based on a rose design, a common motif from colonial times through the nineteenth century. Brilliant reds, green, and yellows contrast vividly with the white background, producing a decorative effect of great gaiety. The design is well composed, with four floral groups disposed evenly in the square center, or field, of the quilt. A paneled effect is achieved by the quilting pattern -- a combination of shells and plumes -- that separates the floral groups and defines four subsidiary squares in the field. The entire field is surrounded by a continuous border of roses, repeating the form of those in the center. The fluid curves of the border echo the scrolling forms of the central flowers and of the background quilting as well. Here, appliqué decoration and quilting are perfectly balanced to create a design of outstanding decorative interest.

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